NEWS

Blog Software Creator Stands Up to the Great Firewall of China

By Matthew Harwood

Matt Mullenweg—the 25-year-old wunderkind creator of Wordpress, a popular blogging platform—sacrificed profits for principle when China blocked his software from being used by its people.

It's no secret that China blocks its people from having the freedom to search for whatever term they want on the Internet. It's also no secret that corporations, like Google, have acquiesced to the Chinese government's demand that they block certain words it finds subversive. It's Mullenweg's refusal to play by China's rules that makes him so different.

He told the Chinese government he wouldn't block certain words or provide it with information on users. That decision cost him a quarter of his traffic overnight.

Via Agence France Presse:

His decision not to pander to China contrasts sharply with other companies that have agreed to the country's extensive Internet controls -- often dubbed the Great Firewall of China -- in the hope of gaining access to what is now the world's biggest online market.

Yahoo! faced fierce criticism when it helped Chinese authorities identify a journalist who had passed on a sensitive Communist Party message to foreign websites. The journalist, Shi Tao, was subsequently jailed in 2005.

Chinese bloggers, AFP reports, can still use Wordpress technology by downloading its free access software and pasting their blogs through another server to avoid the censors.

Mullenweg has refused to submit to similar government demands in Turkey.

Photo by ogilvyprworldwide/Flickr

 

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