The Qnion

Twitter 140-Character Limit Foils Major Breakthrough in Iran Election Controversy

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.”the_qnion

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26 thoughts on “Twitter 140-Character Limit Foils Major Breakthrough in Iran Election Controversy

  1. QN,

    I really hate to question this gentleman’s story, but so much of it seems so unreal (to me at least). I mean, the guy’s twitter message causes those watching to shut down twitter in Iran, then a few minutes later he’s arrested by 10 men, but then released???!!! He talks about “10 more characters” while sipping tea in a Tehran cafe???

    If those boxes weren’t unopened ballot boxes, then why remove them all so quickly? And if those boxes WERE unopened ballot boxes, could we honestly expect the authorities to release this gentleman the next day?

    Somethin’ here don’t sound right… 🙂 And, unfortunately, I’m sure Twitter isn’t about to change the whole immediacy-concept of those 140 characters.

    Posted by Shai | June 17, 2009, 4:15 pm
  2. You cracked me up 😀
    Shai is of course missing something here..!

    Posted by Rami | June 17, 2009, 6:13 pm
  3. I apologize for Shai my fellow countryman. But what can you expect from someone who believes Bashar Asad and finds him trustworthy?

    Keep it up QN.

    Posted by AIG | June 17, 2009, 6:33 pm
  4. Shai:

    You missed the “Jacob Tafnis” that was the give away!

    “Tafnis” roughly translates to “Show off” or “exaggeration” in English!

    Posted by Enlightened | June 17, 2009, 7:39 pm
  5. Jokes aside, this is a very interesting.

    I think we are learning a huge amount about the interplay of media, information & power. The tendency is to think of media control in absolute terms. You have it or you don’t.

    The great firewall of China is a great example. They are not even trying to have absolute control. They want to censor the casual visitor. Those that are prepared to do back flips for information, they can have it. It effectively keeps “dissidents” in the same sort of box as New Internationalist readers in the states.

    Here we have what I think is a similar approach. The difference is that all of a sudden there is a surge in motivation to get around restrictions.

    Posted by netsp | June 17, 2009, 11:40 pm
  6. AIG
    I am very surprised that you even have the word “ apologize” in your vocabulary when responding to Shai’s comment.
    I thought such words ( apologize, sorry, beg your pardon) are banned among Israeli.

    A small observation:
    AIG was not among the 26 RESPONSES TO “LEAVING BEIRUT”
    nor among 17 RESPONSES TO “DIALOGUE THIS”.

    I guess, he is neither a friendly person nor does he have any sense of humor.

    Posted by i.e. Lubnan | June 18, 2009, 1:39 am
  7. To All,

    I feel like an idiot. This is what happens when you read and write something after you’ve put your two girls to bed, and should go to sleep yourself… 🙂

    Oh well, so much for my Private Investigator career… I guess I’ll stick to naively believing peace is possible in our region…!

    AIG, Bashar babysits my children on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Why wouldn’t I trust him?

    Posted by Shai | June 18, 2009, 2:07 am
  8. In the words of Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer “Handbags”…. not meaning to enter the fray (but of course doing so), but the Qnion was surely a less cerebral give-away than Jacob.

    By the way Shai I would love to get hold of your baby sitter for Mondays and Wednesdays, all I could muster was a Hariri and he is forever trying to stuff my toddler with Hawa Chicken delights (an attempt to make him in his own image). I would prefer him to feast the on the abstemious delights of a Shami juice bar. After all a juicy ferret for son is better than a oily toad.

    Posted by Zaytouni | June 18, 2009, 3:32 am
  9. For those on this website who enjoy irony, we’re approaching the one year anniversary of Mad Mahmoud’s prediction that “We will witness dismantling of the corrupt regime in the near future”.

    I wonder which “corrupt regime” he was referring to.


    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 18, 2009, 7:28 am
  10. Lubnan,
    You of course have a very limited view of what Israelis and Israel are all about which explains your sweeping generalizations. Your talent to analyze people based on comments they did not write is amazing. I am only able to judge people by what they write, not by what they don’t.

    When someone resorts to ad-hominem attacks, it means that he has lost the argument. Grownups are usually able to distinguish between the message and the messenger.

    Posted by AIG | June 18, 2009, 7:32 am
  11. Cool piece QN. You obviously have a talent for satire. Looking forward for the next edition of Qnion.

    AIG; who gives a shit what you think?

    Posted by offended | June 18, 2009, 8:27 am
  12. Let’s see. You, Majid and Lubnan to name three.
    If you don’t care about what someone thinks, you ignore him. That is something the three of you have not been able to do.

    Posted by AIG | June 18, 2009, 8:51 am
  13. Awesome!!
    one thing though: who do you pronounce Qnion? Kiu-onion or Kionion? tis more wicked than it seems…

    Very cool stuff QN. Been reading your blog daily since January, even though it’s my first post.
    On the other hand, I officially request permission to post in french from now on…

    Posted by Uncivil War | June 18, 2009, 8:59 am
  14. LOL, and you replied to me. Which means, according to you, that you do give a shit about me not giving a shit about you. That would make you a sad person btw… I guess long term residency in the Bronx is chewing your brain.

    Posted by offended | June 18, 2009, 9:08 am
  15. Offended,

    Just FYI, I give a XXXX about you and your ideas.

    Anyway, on another thread, you said:

    In case you’re not aware, let me break it to you: the US can NOT invade Iran.

    I was wondering who said anything to you about the US invading Iran?

    Also, I’m wondering who you support in the current crisis with Iran: the government or the people? And how do you think the crisis will end?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 18, 2009, 9:39 am
  16. Zaytouni,

    So that’s how Hariri made his billions! 🙂

    Posted by Shai | June 18, 2009, 9:54 am
  17. Uncivil War, welcome.

    Everyone else, let’s keep it clean.

    Shai, don’t worry about it. I know what effects little children can have on one’s sanity.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 18, 2009, 10:18 am
  18. Offended,
    Again your logic is plain wrong.
    Since my argument is that you are bothered by my responses since you answered, than why would I care about the opposite which is false? (My argument is that “you give a s**t” so why would I be bothered that you don’t????)

    I don’t care about you in particular but I do care about having an interesting dialog, argument, exchange (whatever you want to call it) with people that do not necessarily agree with me and that means also addressing people like you that resort to ad-hominem attacks. Attack the message, not the messenger. Those that attack the messenger just prove that they don’t have a good answer to the message.

    Posted by AIG | June 18, 2009, 11:17 am
  19. Also, I’m wondering who you support in the current crisis with Iran: the government or the people? And how do you think the crisis will end?

    Akbar if we compare the two theocracy democracies Israel and Iran do you know what is the latest difference?

    In Iran they can hold mass demonstrations without massive violent police interference. In Israel not especially if the demonstrators are Palestinians. On West Bank Palestinians can’t gather to mass demonstrations because of the roadblocks and in case of smaller demonstrations the area is declared as a closed military zone after IDF has managed to kill and wound some participants. Inside Israel the Israeli citizens if they are Israeli Arabs are not allowed to hold real mass demonstrations. The religious leadership of Israel always invents an excuse for blocking the embarrassing view of hundreds of thousand angry Israeli Arabs demonstrating.

    No need Akbar and AIG to wave to much the Iran “flag”. If you support secular ruling, equality, democracy and non nuclear states you can’t do it honestly if you support today’s Israel.

    Posted by SimoHurtta | June 18, 2009, 12:10 pm
  20. Sim –

    Welcome back! Where were you?

    Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to write a response.

    As usual, I see your writings are full of misinformation, so it will take a bit of time to set you straight.

    Meanwhile I’ll remind the forum that you predicted Avigdor Lieberman would never meet any other foreign diplomats.

    What can I say? You were wrong again…

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 18, 2009, 1:46 pm
  21. Well Akbar what is the misinformation in my previous comment? Do you allow mass demonstrations by Palestinians in Israel and occupied areas? No you do not.

    Compared to the previous FM Lieberman is a more domestic FM. Livni was all the time cruising around the world. Now Lieberman’s hosts or quests are more or less embarrassed to be photographed with that political figure.





    Also the amount of foreign ministers and state leaders visiting Israel has sharply been reduced under this government. Why Akbar?

    Posted by SimoHurtta | June 18, 2009, 2:48 pm
  22. Sim,

    Thank you for “moving the bar” with respect to the Israeli FM.

    Originally you predicted NO state leader would meet with Lieberman, now you’re saying it will be “greatly reduced”.

    I would say the Israeli FM has met already with the “important” countries, and more will fall in line. I find it interesting how every “hoots and howls” about some of Lieberman’s racist comments, but are OK with the Holocaust denying president of the PA, Abu Abbas.

    My feeling is that if there wasn’t so much anti-semitism promoted in the Arab media and within Arab governments, I might take the few of Lieberman’s racist comments more seriously. I guess that’s how the countries that met with Lieberman already feel about the subject.

    Do you allow mass demonstrations by Palestinians in Israel and occupied areas? No you do not.


    How do you know this? Did you conduct any research or are you (again) just relying on your prejudices?

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 18, 2009, 5:12 pm
  23. Jacob Tafnis is now working for the Onion?

    Shai, you probably forgot he used to work part time at Syria Comment.

    Posted by Alex | June 18, 2009, 8:08 pm
  24. Whenever I need to have a laugh, I check your Qnion section. It’s just TOO hilarious!! I love your sense of humour. One of a kind!! Yalla we want more of the Qnion news!!

    Posted by maya zankoul | September 6, 2009, 8:44 pm


  1. Pingback: Weekend reading « erase and rewind - June 19, 2009

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