A Curious Case of Censorship?


Technorati is a search engine for blogs, and while I’ve never found it very useful I still ensure that my blog is listed and the relevant data is mostly up to date. During our extended stay in Singapore I admit I’ve been a little lax in this, but during the redesign I noticed that the thumbnail picture for the blog came up as missing. Technorati acquire their thumbnails from a site called shrinktheweb.com and to update them you need to go there. However when I visited the site I saw this:

Click to see

This is the default Red Hat Enterprise install of Apache, the most widely used web server software in the world. Now, it’s not unknown for companies to have big boo-boos and to have to reinstall after a monumental crash, so i just laughed it off – I even tweeted about it – and moved on to the next phase of the design. But when I checked again the next day it was still down. Googling and searching blogs showed no mention of the downtime. I was bewildered. Then, on a hunch, I checked Shrink The Web via a VPN and this is what I saw:

Click to see

Voila! There was the site. On another hunch I checked my listing with Technorati with the VPN and the thumbnails showed correctly, but were still missing without it.

Is this the result of the Singapore’s government’s censorship program? Maybe Shrink The Web has indexed sites that the government finds offensive. In any case it seems heavy handed if it is. Why not just eliminate the individual listings? Or why not just ignore it – considering how useful the site is. Especially given how easy it is to circumvent the filter.

About the Author: skribe

Based in Perth, Australia, Antonio Barimen (aka skribe) is a writer, digital media consultant and social media producer.

He is available to help you develop social marketing and digital media strategies, improving communication between staff, partners and suppliers or just increasing the number of fans on Facebook. He has developed successful digital and social media projects for clients including CBS, Evian, Procter & Gamble, Discovery Networks, Pernod Ricard and American Express.

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Post Under Social Media March 28, 2010

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