Aug 13 2008
There is some speculation on the Web that the Russian attacks on Georgia were very strategically planned. Planned in such a way that Olympic fever and vacation schedules were bound to overtake coverage (or, even appearance of concern) of the conflict. NBC seemed more worried about stopping Internet leaks of the opening ceremonies than reporting on the attacks. Google even came under fire with accusations of erasing information from maps of Georgia.
The New York Times reported that before any physical attacks occurred, cyberattacks crippled Georgia’s Internet infrastructure. A nasty DDOS attack against Georgia left limited access to official government websites. This cyberattack spread to even more computers throughout the government after Russian troops entered the Georgian province of South Ossetia. The National Bank of Georgia’s Web site was defaced at one point.
For many people, the story broke on Twitter.
But more importantly, Twitter has been a main source of news for Georgians to tell the truth while Russian mainstream media covers it up with propaganda. Eyewitness reports were also available on sites that were hosted by Blogger, providing updates to information that was otherwise blocked by the cyberattack.
It’s interesting to see the role that the Web continues to play in reporting news like this, and keeping people informed. Social networks remain a trusted source of information, and open source Web 2.0 tools have proven to be a resource during times of trouble. Remember the impact of the story about the student who Twittered his way out of jail?
Communication is of course at the heart of these tools and technologies we use, and let’s not forget the ability to go above and beyond "what are you doing" to provide meaningful and important information to the world.