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China Blocks 'Egypt' On Twitter-Like Site 140

Posted by timothy
from the jumping-the-gun-just-a-bit dept.
Suki I writes with this excerpt from news.com.au: "China has blocked the word 'Egypt' from the country's wildly popular Twitter-like service, while coverage of the political turmoil has been tightly restricted in state media. China's ruling Communist Party is sensitive to any potential source of social unrest. A search for 'Egypt'' on the Sina microblogging service brings up a message saying, 'According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, the search results are not shown.' The service has more than 50 million users. News on the Egypt protests has been limited to a few paragraphs and photos buried inside major news websites, but China Central Television had a report on its midday broadcast. China's Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the events in Egypt."
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China Blocks 'Egypt' On Twitter-Like Site

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  • So does Cuba (Score:2, Informative)

    by mangu (126918)

    Egypt isn't mentioned at all in the official Cuban website [granma.cu]

    • by thelexx (237096)

      That was a monumentally stupid comment from someone with such a low id.

      • by Suki I (1546431)

        You call #35044590 low? I bow to your #35045980 superiority ;)

        • that's not the user id, that's the comment id ^^
          • by Suki I (1546431)

            that's not the user id, that's the comment id ^^

            So you call #126918 low? Okay, a few digits lower than mine, but still.

            • No, I just call 126918 the user id, and 35044590 the comment id =P But yes, if you must know, any UID below a million seems weird to me in combination with such a stupid comment. (would you call that comment "not stupid", by the way? ^^)... which means *I* would be fine to make it, but all you guys should be held up to higher standards. (haha)
              • by Suki I (1546431)

                No, I just call 126918 the user id, and 35044590 the comment id =P But yes, if you must know, any UID below a million seems weird to me in combination with such a stupid comment. (would you call that comment "not stupid", by the way? ^^)... which means *I* would be fine to make it, but all you guys should be held up to higher standards. (haha)

                No, I found it stupid but did not need a qualifier ;)

                • But surely only someone with an UID above, say, 1.5 million would take this whole UID thing seriously? Oh, wait...
    • From a quick look, it it does not mention Russia or India either. It does mention the USA. That's just three of the world's four most populous countries. You have found an official state journal, for a state that is not commenting on something that does not concern it or its citizens. Possibly only because it does not have the resources, but nevertheless a commendable attitude.
  • Get over it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conscarcdr (1429747) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @04:21PM (#35044614)
    To us Chinese, this is hardly news, considering that they block all kinds of stuff like "carrot"(contains a character which also occurs in the president [wikipedia.org]'s name) and "empty chair [nybooks.com]".
    • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bishop32x (691667) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @04:26PM (#35044644)
      Last I heard people are using the term 'pharaoh' to refer to Egypt as a dodge around this restriction.
      • Exactly, rephrasing is how people are using to circumvent the censorship, but the euphemism are also taboo'd soon. The Chinese vocabulary is being decimated faster than it's being developed. Soon we'll all be speaking Newspeak in China.
      • by Askmum (1038780)
        You mean "that country north of Sudan"?
    • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Urkki (668283) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @05:29PM (#35044942)

      Get over it? As in, forget it, ignore it, accept it as fact of life? Sorry, no can do. At least some of the rest of us have a thing for this "freedom" fad. A world power restricting freedom in any particular way is and should be newsworthy.

      • by drolli (522659)

        Censorship is an annoyance, but the great firewall (and the attached bureaucracy) has enough lag so that Chinese people are not that uninformed as the government would like them to be.

        It reminds me a little about music albums, which where not allowed to advertise for in Germany, or sell to people below 18.
        In my youth it was a recommendation to buy the tape if it got that status.

        If events in a country are important enough to be blocked, Chinese people will be more curious instead of less. Modern propaganda

        • And since it went so well they developed an official ad sticker [wizbit.net] for it.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Censorship is an annoyance, but the great firewall (and the attached bureaucracy) has enough lag so that Chinese people are not that uninformed as the government would like them to be.

          It reminds me a little about music albums, which where not allowed to advertise for in Germany, or sell to people below 18.
          In my youth it was a recommendation to buy the tape if it got that status.

          If events in a country are important enough to be blocked, Chinese people will be more curious instead of less. Modern propaganda works differently.

          So then, want to explain why it took around two weeks before anybody I asked (while in China) knew what happened with the Xinjiang bombing last year?
          Or how when any big negative incident in China seems to be basically unnoticed by the general populace in China (from personal experience)?

          • by ElSergio (1956248)

            So then, want to explain why it took around two weeks before anybody I asked (while in China) knew what happened with the Xinjiang bombing last year? Or how when any big negative incident in China seems to be basically unnoticed by the general populace in China (from personal experience)?

            Not that surprising, considering you can walk around the US, and half the population has no idea what is going on in the world, or their own country for that matter. Regardless of censorship, most people just don't care to care.

      • No, it wasn't meant to be a cynical comment. I said get over it, as in, save your time and strength for the real struggle. Media exposure alone means nothing to the shameless.
      • by jace_d (1955838)
        That's not something I want to hear from you, American. (Assuming you are american )
    • Re:Get over it (Score:4, Interesting)

      by hackingbear (988354) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @05:49PM (#35045018)
      Well... that's nothing. The actual name of the president Hu Jintao is blocked [sina.com.cn] and the word Communist Party is also blocked [sina.com.cn]. (of course, these names are not illegal but it would be a lot of trouble for the operators to filter them, so the site just block as many as possible thinking nobody would say anything good about them any way.)

      On the other hand, I just opened up sina microblog and see the word Egypt in Chinese and news of protest [sina.com.cn]

    • Re:Get over it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by vadim_t (324782) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @06:01PM (#35045076) Homepage

      Getting over it is exactly the wrong thing to do. Where's your pride? You're going to let a bunch of bureacrats decide what you can and can't read?

      • Of course we are not letting it pass. But we need to make constructive actions or prepare for making actions instead of buzzing over something obvious. Pride alone doesn't win a fight, it's dangerous sometimes.
    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Were you paid to say this thing? You're dumb enough to be deluded by their red herrings and you want us to ignore Chinese censorship? Sorry, we still love freedom... like, everywhere else.

    • by Dogtanian (588974)

      To us Chinese, this is hardly news, considering that they block all kinds of stuff like "carrot"(contains a character which also occurs in the president's name)

      Your president is Carrot Top??!!! [wikipedia.org]

  • If 9/11 was my generation's Pearl Harbor, and Afghanistan/Iraq are our Vietnam, then what is this equatable to?
    • by iammani (1392285) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @04:27PM (#35044652)

      None of these are equatable! They are all different events in different situations.

      • by artor3 (1344997)

        I wouldn't say that. Both 9/11 and Pearl Harbor were attacks that shocked the US out of notion that attacks never come to our soil, and led to cruel treatment of particular ethnic groups. Both the Iraq and Vietnam wars were messy, ill-conceived, protracted fights intended to keep the bogeyman of the day out of the region. There are differences, of course, but there are also similarities.

        It's a bit early to tell what the happenings in Egypt will ultimately bear resemblance to, but it shouldn't be so surpr

        • 9/11 was by a non-state, loosely associated group that had some help getting started when we needed someone else to get their hands dirty fighting out enemies for the purpose of stirring us up.

          Pearl Harbor was a preemptive strike by a national military force against our military force in the hopes that it would cripple our capacity to fight in the Pacific.

          Iraq was an ill planned (if at all) war of choice sold to the American public as a necessary step to prevent further terrorist attacks.

          Vietnam was an ill

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Vietnam was an actual war against an organised if irregular military, fighting for control of territory and having proper battles. The North Vietnamese had an air force, for god's sake. Iraq was comparable to Vietnam for about a month. After that it was just an occupation.

            • Yeah! What he said! I knew I was getting somewhere but then Entertainment Tonight came on and well....

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Vietnam was ill executed by the politicians and actively lambasted in the media by people who didn't understand or care what was actually going on. The Tet offensive was a huge loss for the NVA and should have led to their demise, a fact known by the U.S. military but communicated quite differently by Walter Cronkite.

            Think about this the next time you suggest what happened in Vietnam was a waste of time: If the NVA had been defeated in Vietnam, chances are very good the killing fields of Cambodia and Laos

            • Vietnam and Iraq are prime examples what happens when you let politicians wage a war. If you want to go, go to war. But be serious about it. Don't try to be "humane" about it. There is only one humane war: A short one. If you try to wage a "limited" war, all you accomplish is a drawn out pitched battle which is about the worst you can do onto the civilian population. Go there, strike hard, reach the goal, establish peace. It is about as humane as the whole mess can possibly get.

              The whole "limited warfare" b

        • by Shihar (153932) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @05:36PM (#35044972)

          Pearl Harbor was a real threat. A nation that had already taken out a handful of allies and were on their way to occupying a large portion of the world attacked. It shocked us into standing up and helping our allies beat the snot out of the Axis powers which were a true existential threat to US and certainly its allies.

          9/11 was when a handful of sheep herders armed with box cutters killed fewer people than we lose to accidental drowning each year and did property damage that is pittance next to one of the many minor hurricanes that hit the US each year. This shocked us into the most cowardly display Americans have ever managed. We ratcheting back liberties we had defended for a few hundred years in the face of much scarier opponents, and then precoded to spend money as fast as humanly possibly, build new worthless bureaucracies, and implement countless asinine 'security' measures against a threat that ranks right up there with being struck by lightening. We did this, all the while ignoring real threats that actually kill millions of Americans... like cancer, heart disease, and eating too much fucking food.

          Pearl Harbor was a tragic catalyst that moved the US to action that it should have taken earlier. 9/11 was when we pissed ourself in the face of sheep herders armed with box cutters and ratcheted back our civil liberties and threw money in the air in terror of something that IS NOT GOING TO FUCKING KILL YOU. If you are an American, you are going to die a very boring death due to eating too much. If you are very lucky, you might die in a car accident. The fucking terrorist are not going to get you. Pearl Harbor was tragic a moment that brought us to action. 9/11 was the day we pissed ourselves and surrendered to sheep herders. Please don't try and draw parallels between the two.

          • by NF6X (725054)
            I entirely agree. I wish that I had a mod point to spend here. 9/11 was startling, frightening and tragic but our reaction to it has been absurdly counter-productive.
          • by skegg (666571)

            Your comment led me to this Wikipedia article on drowning [wikipedia.org].
            About twice as many Americans drown each year as died on 9/11.

            We all agree that 9/11 was horrible; a waste of life.

            Yet just how many trillions has the U.S. spent on the War on Terror since then?

            • by M1FCJ (586251)
              Don'g underestimate the greed of Military-Industrial Complex [h-net.org]. We were all warned by the great pacifist(!) president of USA, Eisenhower and no one took him seriously.

              UK has just scrapped their new Nimrod project. Each plane has cost us more than a space shuttle and only was air-worthy. A whole pile of money that could have fixed a significant chunk of budget hole was thrown away to our own Complex here. What a waste of time and money.

          • by Raenex (947668)

            9/11 was when a handful of sheep herders armed with box cutters

            That's quite racist and seriously underestimates the enemy. For example, Mohamed Atta was well-educated and studied architecture. al-Qaeda was well-funded and headed up by a son of an extremely wealthy businessman with ties to royalty.

            killed fewer people than we lose to accidental drowning each year and did property damage that is pittance next to one of the many minor hurricanes that hit the US each year

            They completely wiped out internationally recognized office buildings that were part of the crown jewels of New York City -- they changed the fucking skyline. They flew a plane into the Pentagon. These were high-valued targets, not just some random Joe getting into his acciden

            • by Shihar (153932)

              That's quite racist and seriously underestimates the enemy. For example, Mohamed Atta was well-educated and studied architecture. al-Qaeda was well-funded and headed up by a son of an extremely wealthy businessman with ties to royalty.

              No, at worst it is culturalist. Yes, I am very happily judging Afghan sheep herders as not worthy opponents. That "scary culture" in question managed that managed to sink Afghanistan's per capita GDP to one of the absolute lowest in the world. Compare them to the Soviet-fucking-empire that had a few hundred million well educated people, the resources of a sizable chunk of the world, and enough technological merit to launch a few thousand nuclear tipped missiles at the drop of the hat, and Al-Qaeda is sca

              • by Raenex (947668)

                Yes, I am very happily judging Afghan sheep herders as not worthy opponents.

                Except al-Qaeda isn't a bunch of sheep herders. You're just full of shit.

                Woohp-di-fucking-do. 20 billion against a 14 trillion dollar economy?

                First off, the point stands. Your analogy was completely wrong and trivialized what was a severe blow. Losing the World Trade Center and having a plane fly into the Pentagon isn't just something you shrug your shoulders about, and that $20 billion only covers the property damage. What the hell are you going to do, just sit around and wait for them to repeat or top the performance?

                Do you think any populace of a first-world nation would

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "None of these are equatable! They are all different events in different situations."

        That's not an acceptable answer.

        Resubmit in a manner that let's me play even name-matching games instead of thinking.

    • by chill (34294)

      Your generation's Suez Crisis.

      The good thing about the Arab world is this shit happens every few decades like clockwork. You don't have to compare it to anywhere outside, just wait for them to do it again.

    • by Troll-Under-D'Bridge (1782952) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @06:09PM (#35045106) Journal

      It's too early to tell if the events in Tunisia will produce a wave of liberation. But it does call to mind the events surrounding the fall of the Berlin Wall. This could turn out to be the Arab world's Berlin Wall, then if it spreads to non-Arab countries like Pakistan, the Muslim world's as well.

      There are a number of parallels. For example, pop historians like to point to the Berlin Wall as the event that triggered the end of communism in Eastern Europe. But there were lots of false starts that go back further, at least, say, to the protest movement spearhead by Solidarity [wikipedia.org] in Poland, or maybe even further back to the Prague Spring [wikipedia.org] in Czechoslovakia, in the late 1960s. The latter was brutally suppressed by the Soviets and their allies.

      Could the present events have been inspired by the earlier events in Iran after the hotly contested elections in that theocratic country? Expect any event remotely similar to the Fall of the Wall to usher in a period of instability in the Arab world, something that extremists could exploit to install psychotic regimes worse than the despots they replaced/displaced.

      Who knows, maybe Obama could be this generation's Reagan when the late Republican president issued his famous challenge to his Soviet counterpart: Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall. [wikipedia.org]

    • This is our generation's French Revolution. Seriously, can you see how all those things you listed are weak sauce compared to what went before? Mubarak has maintained support of the military, so he's probably ok for now.
    • by ardle (523599)

      If 9/11 was my generation's Pearl Harbor, and Afghanistan/Iraq are our Vietnam, then what is this equatable to?

      Avatar?

  • TianAnMen (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mdsolar (1045926) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @04:37PM (#35044690) Homepage Journal
    This looks a lot like what I remember from the protests in TianAnMen in Beijing. Then is was for democratic reform rather than an entirely new government but if Egypt is successful, things might change quickly in China too. I remember the horror people in Taiwan felt when the army attached the protesters. Probably made reunification impossible for decades to come unless the communists go. People with Peace Prizes under arrest seems pretty similar in both Egypt and China.
    • There are similarities in the regimes but the demonstrators are different. Tienanmen protest were genuine calls for more democracy. It is still an open question who is really behind the Egypt protests. I hope someone more familiar with politics in Egypt can correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know the Muslim Brotherhood is by far and away the largest political force after the ruling party. In the last election that they were allowed to participate in, the Mubarak's leftist party was first (can't rememb

      • Re:TianAnMen (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @06:14PM (#35045120)

        According to Al Jazeera and everyone they've interviewed for days on their live stream [aljazeera.net], CNN, BBC, Twitter, and in general the whole of the internet, this is a genuinely popular revolution in Egypt, and everyone from children to seniors are participating in it. Of course the protests are mostly dominated by young adults, but that's because they have the worst unemplyoment and most zeal, energy, and strength. Nevertheless, those police that aren't apparently ransacking the city in plain clothes are either hiding or have joined with the protesters, and the army seems to have also sided with the protesters. During Tiananmen, too, the army sided with the people. The Communist Party of China's ace in the hole was that they were able to bring in military units from far away from Beijing that weren't as empathetic to Beijing-ers. I'm no expert in the Middle-East, but I doubt Egypt has that kind of massiveness, and also, unlike Beijing, the Egypt protests are country-wide.

        • by Raenex (947668)

          also, unlike Beijing, the Egypt protests are country-wide.

          Tiananmen was the flashpoint and main protest, but the protests had spread country-wide in 1989, too.

    • by skegg (666571)

      I remember the horror people in Taiwan felt when the army attached the protesters

      Screw that ... I'd also be horrified if I saw that

      • by mdsolar (1045926)
        Yes, but in Taiwan it was on TV non-stop. Kind of like 9/11 here but for much longer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @04:53PM (#35044784)

    Well isn't that cute. Apparently the old nellies in the communist party of China are somehow feeling a bit threatened by protests happening in an entirely different country, involving an entirely different culture, and involving an entirely different type of government. What could they possibly think is the connection between communist China and the Mubarak/NDP party rule in Egypt? The politics is completely different. It doesn't make any sense.

    Oh, wait, I know what the connection is -- the longing of the people to be free of autocratic rule, which transcends borders and the peculiarities of political parties. I can see why the people in power might be a little frightened by that. It's something that autocratic regimes always worry about -- that the people might finally rise up and say "enough".

    I wonder if they'll block "Tahrir Square" next? (It means "Liberation Square" in Egyptian)

    • by MasaMuneCyrus (779918) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @06:19PM (#35045142)

      I've heard a lot that the people of Egypt were a little bit embarrassed that a small country like Tunisia could topple a dictator when they couldn't. Egypt has more than 5000 years of history, and Egyptians have some pride and exceptionalism regarding their long history and power in the Arab world. Chinese people also have a lot of pride and exceptionalism in their long history, and feel that they should be the center of the world in Asia. In that regard, the two countries aren't so different, and this revolution could be very threatening to the communist regime.

      In reality, I think as long as China continues to concretely improve, at a snails pace though it may be, there will not be sufficient appetite for a revolution in China. To say that the CPC is a little bit paranoid about revolutions and stability, though, would be an understatement.

    • Apparently the old nellies in the communist party of China are somehow feeling a bit threatened by protests happening in an entirely different country, involving an entirely different culture, and involving an entirely different type of government

      Yes. They really started clamping down right after the Iranian riots. There is no doubt the ruling class in China feels pressure and the need to keep the people happy.

  • China is not censoring the events in Egypt. If this word is blocked on one site it is certainly not representative for the media at large. It's all over the news on all news outlets in China. And no, this will not give the Chinese people idea's. In general the Chinese population is supportive of there government.
    • That's an odd tone in your post. Censorship is an event. Trying to smush it away by saying "it's only one word" is some kind of red herring.

      After all, if they are going to pick one word, it is an odd choice to pick "Egypt". I'd think "Freedom" would be more dangerous.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by dissy (172727)

      China is not censoring the events in Egypt.

      So you feel the block on this word is for technical reasons then?

    • +1 informative.
    • by ausrob (864993)
      Plus, frankly, the people here are far more concerned with Chinese New Year/Spring Festival which is only a few days away. I suspect that few inside China are paying much attention to anything else. If you've ever BEEN to China, then you'd know exactly what I'm talking about. Chinese New Year is like Christmas and New Years Eve all thrown into a two or three week long massive holiday. If a protest breaks out in the next two weeks, I'll happily eat my hat, but the odds are it won't.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday January 29, 2011 @05:14PM (#35044870) Homepage Journal
    Tunisia's government dropped like a rock and it seems that people around the world took notice that a populist movement could actually overthrow an unwelcome regime. Of course, if the regime didn't care about its image in the world, it could just kill a few tens of thousands of people until the troublemakers either stop revolting or are dead...
    • Of course, if the regime didn't care about its image in the world, it could just kill a few tens of thousands of people until the troublemakers either stop revolting or are dead...

      It's a risk (note: as of my latest knowledge, 24 people in Egypt have died, and over 1000 are injured). Despite appearances, a dictatorship is not a single person with all the power, it is one person who must maintain the following of the army at a very minimum. If he tells the army to kill the people, at some point the army will defect. This is what happened to the government in Tunisia, the army defected.

      Now, Mubarak has been moving slowly.....the protests were going on for a while before he called the

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Of course, if the regime didn't care about its image in the world, it could just kill a few tens of thousands of people until the troublemakers either stop revolting or are dead...

        If he tells the army to kill the people, at some point the army will defect. This is what happened to the government in Tunisia, the army defected.

        Here in Argentina, the army was much trigger-happier, I guess, since they didn't stop until after 30,000 people had died ("disappeared"). Some 10,000 people gone in neighbouring Chile, back in the 70's. So, kudos to the Tunisian army for actually having some decency. Did you see the pictures of protestors kissing the soldiers/policemen? Sent shivers down my spine.

        • Here in Argentina, the army was much trigger-happier, I guess, since they didn't stop until after 30,000 people had died ("disappeared"). Some 10,000 people gone in neighbouring Chile, back in the 70's

          It's fine to do that (speaking from the perspective of a dictator), as long as you make sure the army is still loyal. You need to keep on top of it, and make sure things are still going your way. Different situations allow different power pushes.

    • Yesterday Iran executed a dutch woman, supposedly for smuggling drugs and selling it. Her arrest however came during Iran's own riots and some people believe the charges were fabricated. Curious she would be executed in such a hurry at this moment. Sending a message perhaps?

      But don't worry, the dutch government froze, not cut, all ties with the Iran government an. That will teach them.

      China has little to worry about, these revolts have been about high unemployment levels. China is not suffering from that. T

      • China has little to worry about, these revolts have been about high unemployment levels. China is not suffering from that. The people got their bread and circusseses. It is the Islamic nations that are worried. They are corrupt, inept and overflowing with ever larger generations of yoing people with no future. China escaped that with the one child policy.

        Not quite. China's one-child policy has resulted in a serious gender imbalance where young men greatly outnumber young women. One report predicts there will be 30 million more men than women in China by 2020. With little prospect of finding a wife and raising a child to continue the family name, this could result in higher emigration, internal social unrest, or millions in the military with no reason to return home (won't that be comforting to neighbouring countries...)

  • Move along...
  • Not surprising. The Chicoms see their future. Unless citizens can petition fairly government with their grievances, this scene is inevitable.
  • Not Quite True (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 29, 2011 @08:34PM (#35045958)

    I am living/working in China and the Egypt situation has been the lead story on CCTV English news for the last 2 days... complete with clips of the Egyptian protests and the mandatory "Talking Head" analysts (both Chinese and foreign). It's getting 6~10 minutes worth of air-time at the top of each hour... Even the CCTV web site at http://english.cntv.cn/01/index.shtml has many clips available. The Chinese channel newscasts tend to be leading with stories of arduous treks back home for Spring Festival [EG: Riding 600Km on a motorcycle, in winter)... but there are still items, with footage of the riots, running on those news shows.

  • Egypt - Fact

    New Secret Jet - Hoax

  • by ausrob (864993)
    Frankly, this isn't news. The whole country blocks facebook, twitter and god only knows what else. The netizens in China have figured out terms they can use to work around the filtering (they're not dumb) which goes to show how stupid the government sanctioned "great firewall" is (please take note Australia and other countries which are democracies who are entertaining mandatory filters!). Blocking a single word on a single site is hardly the biggest outrage I can think of. Think about it.
  • I remember predicting the .com bubble poppage to my wife in the nineties (we own an ISP which was actually generating revenue, as opposed to so many .com's which were receiving funding based on future predicted/possible income).

    I see two bubbles in China: economic and social.

    The only question is: *when* they're going to pop, and whether they'll pop *together*.

  • But your attempted search is reported to the government.

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