What to make of last week’s attack on Twitter? How about another demonstration of how social networking sites can been seen as a threat by established interests.Thomas Malaby is a UW Milwaukee a cultural anthropologist who studies games, technology, and modern institutions – like Twitter, which had “a denial of service attack” last week. “Twitter is kind of interesting in that regard, because it’s had a number of what some people have called ‘organic denial of service attacks,’ which is simply it’s vast popularity and vast increase in popularity this year, led to a number of outages,” says Malaby.
But those earlier outages were different. Last week’s hacking on Twitter was brought on a politically motivated cyber attack against a single blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. “These social networking sites – Twitter especially – are very threatening to established interests,” says Malaby. “I think we’re seeing more and more of that.”
Malaby says there’s no evidence indicating that the attack on Twitter had any sort of government support. “But there is clearly an indication that this was a blogger who was writing about the situation in Chechnya and in the region, in a way that was very threatening to those who didn’t want that information out there,” he says. And Malaby adds, those ‘established interests’ need not be just in the arena of political conflict: he notes ESPN recently prohibited its employees from Twittering about sports on their personal Twitter pages.