You can do what you want online, but be prepared to cry.

Written by John Barlow, A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace is a tongue-in-cheek article based on the United States Declaration of Independence. Upon reading, one may think it sounds very pretentious and anti-statis, which it is!

The main point Barlow is trying to convey is that the online world is un-ruled, a place where,

“We are creating a world where anyone, anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.” (Barlow 1996)

Hold up, he said what now?

So he is trying to tell us that we can say whatever we want, without fear of attack on what we have said? Try telling that to millions of YouTube users who

upload videos and have to deal with hate comments every day. They are directly being attacked for their beliefs in which they upload for the whole world to see. Just uploading a video of oneself takes courage, when one comment can completely shatter this confidence.

In China, Facebook is banned. Why?

To “enforce state control over the media” (The Unofficial Facebook Blog 2009).

 How are people in China able to express their beliefs when they cannot even access the largest social networking site in the world? Thanks to China blocking a large number of sites including Twitter, the state has complete control over the media.

Although I do not agree with this article in its entirety, I do believe some of it makes perfect sense. Barlow was ahead of his time, in 1996, when 0.9% of the world had access to the Internet (Internet World Stats).

We are free to do what we please on the internet but that does not mean we are shielded from others prejudice, nastiness or bullying to silence us.


Barlow, J.P. (1996) A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace [URL: