#IMWeekly: August 22, 2014

by Rebekah Heacock Jones

Google has lifted restrictions preventing Internet users in Cuba from downloading the Chrome browser. Prominent Cuban blogger Yoani Sánchez attributes the change to a visit by Google executives to Havana earlier this year. Sánchez writes, "It must have been a particularly bitter pill to swallow to try to download Google Chrome and see the screen appear saying, 'This service is not available in your country.'" While US economic sanctions do prohibit Internet companies from offering some services in certain countries, in 2010 web browsers were removed the list of prohibited software.

A recent survey by the Russian Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) has revealed that less than half of Russians have heard about the country's new "blogger law," which as of August 1, 2014 requires bloggers with audiences of three thousand people or more to register with the government. Of those that do know about the law, the majority support it.

Syria, United States
Twitter has announced that it will suspend the account of anyone who tweets graphic images or video of the the alleged execution of American journalist James Foley. Foley, who was kidnapped in Syria in November 2012, is believed to have been beheaded by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). ISIS posted a video of the alleged execution to YouTube on August 19; within several hours, more than 2000 ISIS supporters had tweeted about it.

#imweekly is a weekly round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To read more, click here.