November 8, 2019 HomeArticlesEvgeny Morozov: How the Internet strengthens dictatorships Evgeny Morozov: How the Internet strengthens dictatorships By David Keiser Articles, Blog 100 Comments Related posts: If I controlled the Internet | Rives In the Internet age, dance evolves … | The LXD Clay Shirky: How the Internet will (one day) transform government Danny Hillis: The Internet could crash. We need a Plan B Tags:.net, and, authoritarian, dictatorship, Effect, Evgeny, internet, Morozov, oppression, regime, talks, technology, TED, TEDTalks, the, you Related Posts The Internet’s STILL Freaking Out Over Lady Gaga’s Fortnite Tweet COSMOTE Hints & Tips – COSMOTE My Internet μέσω κινητού Is Your Website ADA Compliant? About Author admin 100 Comments LordoftheJamesClan I don't think humanity is smart enough to overcome our humanity. we are biological machines designed to consume and reproduce. The majority of 'thinking' that is being done by our brains is merely scheming on how to better consume and satisfy ourselves. September 22, 2009 Reply xingfenzhen interesting the ad in 4:05 is actually an advert for Tencent QQ and has nothing to do with government and it's the website mentioned in 5:53. September 22, 2009 Reply jeosoriogu Sooo… the freedom given to the people, is bad because of what they do with it, so this strengthens dictatorships. So cyber freedom will replace real freedom via cyber Opioum? I do not agree. And it is true, internet is not activisim. The question is… should it be?? I do not think so. but does this make it better for the dictatorship??? neither. September 22, 2009 Reply Grysham Not to make any comment on agreeing or not agreeing but… can you give me some examples of this? September 22, 2009 Reply Atoyota interesting perspectives, not all I agree but all valid. September 22, 2009 Reply Stefan Sojka B Excellent talk – but jeez, I am glad his arms stopped waving around – kind of ironic, considering the subject matter: saying something so important but diluting the message with hand gestures. Perhaps the first step is to send all the intellectuals to Toastmaters. 🙂 September 22, 2009 Reply diedds shutupads Regardless, the internet is still a source of free information for those willing to do their own investigative research. Sheep are sheep regardless. September 22, 2009 Reply canadianmaple09 So if it is true that the internet strengthens dictatorships, then logically TED is strengthening dictatorships by posting this talk on Youtube. September 22, 2009 Reply diedds shutupads still liked the speech though September 22, 2009 Reply ragnarocks0 Fail logic, he is arguing that the internet is being used as a medium for political propaganda and manipulation of behavior ,not that the usage of internet empowers dictatorships. September 22, 2009 Reply bamboocha923 subtitles please… September 22, 2009 Reply LudicrousTachyon Look at Iran, a large percentage of the population twittered for action agains the government, and they have protested but, it will take much more to actually accomplish anything. September 22, 2009 Reply Adrian It's an undesirable side-effect of a global communication network, not by no means a show stopper. So while it may well be true, it can be disregarded at once, on my opinion. September 22, 2009 Reply Adrian *in 🙂 September 22, 2009 Reply bosyeux2 you're correct in the sense that this is done everywhere, not just in dictatorships September 22, 2009 Reply Jean Paul Dupuis ultimately it's a good point: genuine individual empowerment is more than just one particular enabling technology… but the internet is a tremendously enabling technology, and surely does more net good than harm. September 22, 2009 Reply Vincent Blouin use your brain seriously. September 22, 2009 Reply Ahmed Essam how this stupid guy appeared on ted ???? ///we should drop more i-pod than bombs/// wow , i mean as if he wanted to say , no drop more bombs than i-pod !!!!! September 22, 2009 Reply abuelhid Its so true, look how Israel uses the internet. They are one of the most connected countries and people. They blog falsely, create websites to push their illegal occupation of arab land, change facts and push throught falsied ones. September 22, 2009 Reply clearmenser I call paper tiger. September 23, 2009 Reply funkalunatic If I had to pick a gesture to make for an entire speech, I'd pick that one too. September 23, 2009 Reply DesireSpasm The internet greatly decreases the transaction cost of communication. That's all, it's not a magic spell of democracy and peace. There is nothing inherent in the internet other than that. But never underestimate what people can do when they can communicate. September 23, 2009 Reply JohnJ2427 The internet will bring an intellectual revolution just as the printing press did. Even if governments printed a lot of propaganda, the printing press helped good ideas spread even faster. September 23, 2009 Reply princeofexcess in other words if people feel like there is a democracy its really easy to control them. Makes me think of this one country called USA. September 23, 2009 Reply jwfcp awesome talk. September 23, 2009 Reply angelwhite Enjoyed the speech, I really saw it as supporting freedom, equality, and openness, though. September 23, 2009 Reply Glenn Marcel Interesting, I kinda agree with this guy. I mean on the surface we all have heard people got fired because of facebook and twitter. The intelligence must have jumped ship to the network to gather information, silently. We always think that internet is the place where people win. wait a minute, that can be a wrong assumption. They, the govt and Intels have power, money, controls, and they can easily hire intelligent people who can predict and calculate everything. September 23, 2009 Reply Oplinta Moshtak really great! Thank [email protected] September 23, 2009 Reply Dayvit78 It's not a typical russian accent. he said he's from belarus anyway. September 23, 2009 Reply Sharpshooterjoe ugh reminds me of my physics professors September 23, 2009 Reply ninawillams "exdample!" September 23, 2009 Reply doloppost *thinks about Samuel Jackson's lines in Pulp Fiction, where he interrogates a very nervous person* September 23, 2009 Reply lothrazar He is very wrong. It is only when governments control and censor the internet. September 23, 2009 Reply inquisitive871 He has a point. Where do you think the "birther" movement came from? September 24, 2009 Reply inquisitive871 At the end of the day, Facebook is owned by a corporation. How do you think it manages to stay up? It is funded by companies who pay to have their ads up. The people don't have any control of the internet at the end of the day. September 24, 2009 Reply bernardzyx I love lolcats. What's wrong with lolcats? September 24, 2009 Reply MRSketch09 @Vid I watched this.. and maybe its just because he mentioned so many things.. it really didn't seem like he had a point. I don't know if he hates the internet or likes it.. or if he was feeding a line of bs. I couldn't understand his logic. September 24, 2009 Reply Casualmisfit just a quick note YouTube shouldn't really be at the "HAVE FUN" class on the hierarchy pyramid… as it incorporates all categories on his lil list there… it isn't solely for fun… just nit picking here September 25, 2009 Reply Waranoa "The Internets" haha September 25, 2009 Reply Waranoa what are you talking about? September 25, 2009 Reply Zetimenvec this is why anonymous websites are superior to registered forums September 25, 2009 Reply Tapecutter59 The TED slogan above says "ideas worth spreading". There is no evil bit that can tell the internet what ideas are worth, it attempts to spread them all. Dictator's generally don't like competing ideas so will attempt to eradicate them from their part of the internet. Neither the net nor the dictator will be fully successfull but barring a global dictator the net will gain the upper hand. The internet means that dictators can no longer simply smash the presses of those with different ideas. September 26, 2009 Reply Waranoa Ah well, I don't really have time for that; there's probably more than one international computer network (internets), but when that term is used online, in 90% of the cases it is meant as a joke, so, there's a 90% chance that it actually IS funny. September 26, 2009 Reply majinspy This isn't that great of a point. The benefits to dictators that the internet gives them is most likely outweighed by the potentials for free speech / exchange of ideas. The true reason regimes stand as they do now are the power of modern weapons (and the resulting chasm between military weaponry and public personal weaponry) as well as an international distaste for war. A crappy little dictatorship like N. Korea would be invaded by a superior society 1000 years ago. Today it is allowed to rot. September 26, 2009 Reply Mu'min InshaAllah all of hte modern weapons in the world mean nothing if the people themselves hold an idea strongly enough to overthrow their own governments. propaganda, not weapons, are the most powerful tool of dictators…u sway ppls minds enough and start herding them into a group mentality, any new minority idea/opinion that goes against accepted belief is snuffed by the people themselves (such as the internet being a potential propaganda tool…like he said…an unpopular idea). September 27, 2009 Reply Mu'min InshaAllah people are always stupider than they think they are, the internet is a potential forum for lay ppl to get together and validate eachothers unfounded opinions. you get enough ppl and those ignorant, unfounded opinions become an accepted belief that ppl just fall into. September 27, 2009 Reply kriptonis ahhh fake statistics. September 27, 2009 Reply kriptonis this is an unfunded opinion. September 27, 2009 Reply kriptonis tell that to the iraquis … or to the people of gaza… right, weapons have no power … :S September 27, 2009 Reply Mu'min InshaAllah you're off topic…this isn't about people fighting powerful foreign governments, its about people fighting their own governments…in which case, propaganda and a promotion of disunity are more important tools than weapons are when a dictatorship government deals with its people you think a single dictator alone can wield all his weapons and keep everyone in line? he needs a group of people who listen to and believe in him to do it for him… September 27, 2009 Reply Waranoa Yeah sorry, it's probably closer to 99.99% 🙂 September 27, 2009 Reply Charlie Salvato I have long been convinced that institutions purely democratic must, sooner or later, destroy liberty or civilization, or both. Thomas Babington Macaulay September 28, 2009 Reply Charlie Salvato It had been observed that a pure democracy if it were practicable would be the most perfect government. Experience had proved that no position is more false than this. The ancient democracies in which the people themselves deliberated never possessed one good feature of government. Their very character was tyranny; their figure deformity. Alexander Hamilton June 21, 1788 September 28, 2009 Reply josepharte Living in the Middle East, I can definitely say this is true, and not just in Internet, but also in newspapers, books, speeches, and practically all forms of media… September 28, 2009 Reply sixpackspy ipods spread democracy? lol September 28, 2009 Reply bajorjor1 the internet is just a tool, and like any tool it can be used for good or evil 🙂 September 29, 2009 Reply majinspy Yes but he now needs a small amount of people to do it with. If England had tanks and apache helicopters in 1776, I don't think history would've turned out the way it did. That is how things are today: governments control massively powerful weaponry while civilians have small arms. A dictator does indeed need others, but very few. A dictator plus about 25% of a country and do damn well. Propaganda IS a powerful tool but I believe it hurts the dictator more than it helps. September 29, 2009 Reply princeofexcess totalitarian states are known to use way more propaganda then democracies. Because of freedom of speech it is much harder to spread government propaganda. Media is spreading the propaganda in democracies which doesn't benefit government as much. October 5, 2009 Reply princeofexcess TYPING WONT CHANGE YOUR MIND! Its when you talk to people face to face where they can actually punch you is when you listen. October 5, 2009 Reply princeofexcess bystander effect FTW October 5, 2009 Reply flyhead2 Where did you read that? October 5, 2009 Reply princeofexcess its mostly from history (hitler stalin, China) . Some of it is logic. Simply because when you are controlling information then you can spread whatever propaganda you want. when there is free speach you arent only source of information because there is media. Unless goverment limits free speach and owns media (or is has its support) in amounts that is visible in totalitarian countries cannot be achieved. October 5, 2009 Reply flyhead2 I think you are very naive. It is true that totalitarian regimes advocate propoganda and limit free speach, but propoganda has limited value because no one believes it and the State can enforce its authority though coercion. In ostenibly 'free' societies where corporate and State power has merged, such as the US or Britain, propoganda is far more important. Any impartial review of the US's media coverage of the Iraq wars, Afghanistan, Iran or Palestine will reveal this. Turn off your TV. October 5, 2009 Reply princeofexcess No one believes in it? Really so people didnt really believe in Hitlers propaganda. For me perfect example is given in the video how government in china controls people and keeps them calm. People believe misinformation in totalitarian systems Hitler himself said "tell a lie make it big repeat it over and over and people will believe it". I do believe that there is no real free speech in USA and that there is propaganda here. I just think it plays even bigger role in totalitarian systems. October 5, 2009 Reply crock703 I've lived in China, and I heard there the same thing that we hear in these comments — that the West and America looks down on China and only says bad things about it. Here's a news flash guys, until China became an economic power in the last decade, we never really thought about China. The CCP demonizes the U.S. to make it seem as though it protects/defends the Chinese people. In reality, it just tells them the U.S. looks down on China, when it really doesn't. October 11, 2009 Reply LemonLimeLaughter This is a great talk. Internet is a great resource for those who use it. People who were active without the internet will still be active with the internet. People who were not active without the internet will not be active with the internet. I have been using the internet as a source of knowledge for a couple months and it is amazing what i have learned. He also made a great point about activists and networks, i should tell this to the activists I know. October 12, 2009 Reply Trung Huynh Great job tearing down the internet activism illusion. October 14, 2009 Reply mooxim It wasn't until about 10 minutes in that I started to agree with him. The pyramid clinched it, he's totally right. October 15, 2009 Reply Stuart Cullen i give up… subtitles please October 17, 2009 Reply eggkunt What the fuck is wrong with this guys arms. He can't fucking stop. Look at him. OMG STOP DUDE IT DOESN'T EMPHASIZE ANYTHING IF YOU DO IT FOR EVERYTHING! STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT IMGOIDGNSOIDNFOSIDNFIURNFIRUNGkjgn October 19, 2009 Reply eggkunt Wrong? No. Stupid? Yes. October 22, 2009 Reply eggkunt No, he's not right either. Waving your arms can't be right or wrong. It doesn't apply. This has nothing to do with culture. This has to do with a bimbo waving his arms around for no reason. I can guarantee you not everyone in his "culture" waves their arms around for no reason. Stop pretending like everything anything says about anyone is a racial slur. I hate people like you. October 23, 2009 Reply dryan22 What orchestra is he conducting? November 12, 2009 Reply Daniele Mieli Why is the audio of this video has been edited? at minute 4:07 you can pick up mih saying "they r building what I call the spenternet." then there is a "the" that has been added to the audio and then it goes back to normal. What is the need of this cut? December 1, 2009 Reply Slavestorms @graveyardpc So true. – 10 years after I'd love to change the world But I don't know what to do So I'll leave it up to you This refrain is so true, it always has been. Everybody wants to make the world a better place, in his own way. But because we all have other ways (we all have another interpretation of that better world and so there's no unity) it's very hard to do; So what happens: you don't know what to do and you forget about it, hoping that other people will do it for you Government? October 11, 2010 Reply HI It'sme the internet has ruined everything but I can't seem to stop using it. December 3, 2010 Reply Taniwha_NZ This speech should resonate a lot more with the current Wikileaks situation. His assertion that the internet is useful for MISinformation as well as Information, means that the most valuable commodity in the digital age is the certainty of truth. Wikileaks is the first successful effort to develop a reputation for truth so leaks can be trusted. Think about it, this is how the power of the net can be used to expose despots and free people. December 12, 2010 Reply Ivan Toshev 60 astroturfers detected May 11, 2011 Reply FractalBolt Yeah, dictatorships are getting stronger and more sinister, but hey, as long as I have access to my Porn (yeah, with capital P) I'm safe and sound. August 10, 2011 Reply reallyareNonamesleft These are nice ideas, but as the Arab Spring and China's effective use of censorship demonstrates, the net effect appears to be far more harmful than helpful to these regimes. The internet makes it a lot easier for hidden knowledge (we all hate the dictator and want him deposed) to become public knowledge. Normally, stating that you hate the dictator would cost you your life. The internet makes it incredibly easy to share that sentiment with millions while not dying. A game changer. November 8, 2011 Reply discostu333 Great talk, Evgeny talks a lot of sense. January 17, 2012 Reply princeofexcess its less predominant. Its harder to brainwash people in free societies in totalitarian systems (with certain believes already present culturally) it is much easier. Dictators like those would never exist if not for the limited press and mass brainwashing. In North korea people think their great leader is "god". There are much more divided opinions in free country although propaganda is still very much alive. April 11, 2012 Reply princeofexcess could you rephrase what you are saying. I have a hard time understanding April 27, 2012 Reply princeofexcess i am not disagreeing with you. All i was saying is that there is more "brainwashing" in nations that have dictatorship rather then in a societies without a absolute leader. April 27, 2012 Reply VanosEnigmA VideoMix Androgyny I agree but a different title would have been better I´m looking for friends who have similar interests like me, the most important you can see in my Twitter profile. Priorities change sometimes a little but the essential remains. (ideas worth spreading) Follow me, I follow you back: Twitter: @Enigmaisland FaceBook: vanos.enigmaisland March 3, 2013 Reply rcworld I-Pod Liberalism? What is this guy talking about? Who said that if you give people enough connectivity or devices, democracy well never fall? this guy should give references… Internet is just a toll, is logical that economical power and political power fall into it as well, but the big difference with television, for example, is that if you are clever enough you can make money too! In other words you can make your own television if you have the will do it… March 6, 2013 Reply rcworld Off course if you submit to a social web then you have to follow the policies of those who created that website…but this is common sense…I don't see how this person is arguing about internet almost considering that masses are just absorbed by it in sort of passive way… Television is passive and dangerous – internet is active(if you are clever enough, and therefore it can be very good and make a big difference). March 6, 2013 Reply rcworld This person just think that everybody else apart from him is dumb… …Maybe to grow up in country with so many years of communist dictatorship distorted his vision about what freedom really is… I hope that in countries where they have restrictions in using internet they will soon get the freedom they deserve … but off course is up to the individual to make a good and conscious use of the net… at the least now political power doesn't have anymore monopolio on information March 6, 2013 Reply rcworld Enforcing dictatorship? This guy is taking it way too much far… Governments are very worried about the internet because is new and it does spread information [very quickly – they cannot anymore hide things so easily… Off course the same discussion is reflected on those who are actually trying to use it for deliberating important information… but the thing is must not have restriction but more information… like it is for agricultural products for example March 6, 2013 Reply rcworld when you buy food the label should tell you everything about it…That's how internet should be too.. If you don't trust such a system …then you cannot trust anything in life too. But as citizen we should expect a net today restrictions free (apart for what concerns the use of it in relation to minors) and I would say even accessible for free in most of the public spaces … clearly we have to keep our eyes opened, but you should keep your eyes opened even if internet didn't existed. March 6, 2013 Reply rcworld This guy is narrowing down the power of internet and he is talking about blogs as if they are all the same and talking about wikipedia as if that is the only source of available information, and he does apply the same simplistic approach about everything he says; just generalizing and narrowing down… I think he is just looking for publicity…some people are worried about internet and this guy could become their intellectual alibi to support restriction for the net. Horrible talk.. March 6, 2013 Reply Lukas Indeed he's not narrowing down the power of the internet; he's clarifying the internet's power works more difficult than is generally thought. Moreover, the generalizations and simplifications he is depicting are the generalizations and simplifications of those who he brands cyber-utopians. Morozov himself actually constantly emphasizes the importance of context. March 21, 2013 Reply EaropenerMusic I don't know… this seems to be a glass half full, glass half empty type of discussion. Just think of the way hackers kept the internet going in The Arab Spring June 13, 2013 Reply hexatentacle Tell that to those people and websites who defeated SOPA. September 11, 2013 Reply Brad Horner It's just technology. Like anything else you can do good with it or do bad. There is much good that can and will be done. If you want to think about the bad that can be done, fine, but be careful with thinking that a technology is inherently good or bad. He fails in logic but wins in making money off being a contrarian. January 4, 2014 Reply Pau Adelantado No dictatorship will cut, limitate or censore something useful for it. June 15, 2014 Reply Картвел Я не понимейшен. Где русская версия? November 12, 2016 Reply Nicholas R.M. TED has become a dictatorship and is using censorship to keep power! November 25, 2016 Reply Selim Karkeni Traduction in french please July 12, 2017 Reply adwaye This man is a prophet. I watched in 2011 Arab spring time and he saw the fight we will have against big government. Today, its not just big gov. but big tech which will be a determent towards liberalism around the world. #Salute. June 27, 2019 Reply Add a Comment Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment:*Name:* Email Address:* Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.