Salaita and Internet Freedom


By Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression, Electronic Frontier Foundation

Plenty has been written on the unceremonious “un-hiring” of Steven Salaita, a professor who gave up tenure at Virginia Tech to take a more suitable position at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The revocation of Salaita’s job offer—a day before he was set to start and after he had already uprooted his family to move across the country—because of his outspoken criticism of Israel on Twitter has been written about from every imaginable perspective, from that of academic freedom and the ways in which neoliberal labor practices harm workers, to the Big Money takeover of public universities.

One area that has remained largely unaddressed is the fact that in addition to being an academic freedom issue, this is also in many ways a question of “Internet freedom.” Salaita’s commentary largely took place on Twitter, an inherently…

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