TEHRAN, Iran – Western observers are touting Twitter’s critical role in helping Iranian opposition protesters organize rallies under the watchful eye of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s security regime, but some young Iranians are complaining about the 140-character limit imposed by the San Francisco-based company, calling it “draconian” and “stifling”.
One opposition supporter who goes by the Twitter username “MousaviRulez” is alleging that the character limit prevented him from communicating a major discovery that could have provided proof for the opposition’s claims that the election was rigged.
“I came upon a huge warehouse in the outskirts of Tehran, and it was full of unopened ballot boxes from different districts all around the country. There must have been a several million votes in there,” MousaviRulez told QNION correspondent Jacob Tafnis. “As soon as I figured out what I’d found, I immediately sent a message to my Twitter followers with the directions to the warehouse. But I ran out of space.”
MousaviRulez says that when he realized he couldn’t fit the entire set of directions into one tweet, he tried to break it up across many smaller ones.
“But by then, it was too late,” he said. “People were re-tweeting my original tweet, then re-tweeting my staggered tweets. It was a huge mess. And then someone in the government who was following my tweets realized what was going on and they shut down the Twitter servers in the country.”
MousaviRulez says that within ten minutes, several officers arrived at the warehouse, cuffed him, and took him to jail. When he was released the following day, he made his way back to the warehouse only to find that it was empty.
“Ten more characters. That’s all I needed to get my message across,” he said sadly, sipping tea in a Tehran cafe.
“If only I’d used Facebook, things might have been so different.”