The Arab Spring was fueled by Western powers; so-called Twitter revolutions were channeled via the Internet and social media. The US publicly states that it has committed more than 1.4 billion dollars to support Tunisia's transition towards Democratic practices and good governance. Looking back from now, the results are a stagnating GDP in a higher unemployment rate than before. Even worse cases are Libya and Syria, which fell into civil war. All this turmoil also gave birth to isis and the extremely violent terrorist organization.
China saw this very early on and said the Chinese Internet space will not become a place filled with western ideas. Hence the intention of the Great Firewall. The biggest misconception about the firewall is that it's an information curtain that makes life in China like George Orwell's 1984.
People have the common understanding that state blockage creates isolated communities on the Internet. Assuming that netizens would use all websites if given access, but they forget the sheer size of the Chinese market. With local companies quickly filling the digital gap, often more adequately and effectively, one study about the Chinese Internet from the University of Missouri found that cultural proximity plays a much bigger role than access blockage. This means that even with access to the outside Internet, the vast majority of Chinese people aren't likely to use Googe services anytime soon because equivalent Chinese companies can deliver much more fitting services.
The Chinese Internet is exploding with its own topics, news, events, scandals, or memes, or what have you. More importantly, in the age of artificial intelligence, where data mining is crucial. Obtaining first-hand raw data is extremely important. Europe, where there is already a lack of tech companies, suddenly realized that they don't own the data to train their AI and develop algorithms. They've been using Googe and Facebook services all this time. And all of the user data are in the hands of American companies.
Now, because China was late to the Internet Party of which the US holds definite influence. China built its wall early on. This prevented potential incidents of the likes of the Arab Spring and terrorist attacks. On the side, Chinese Internet companies have grown, and many of them are now major global payers in social media platforms.
In the case of WeChat and TikTok, these now have the US worried, planning on banning the two apps and rolling out the clean network program.
Similar programs have been implemented in other parts of the world—Russia, with its runette, India straight out, shutting down the Internet. Even Europe, after years of lacking behind the Internet slash tech sector stating that they might need a wall just like China.
More and more nations around the world are starting to consider Internet space as Sovereign space and fertile soil for infants. The Internet freedom that the West is advocating may actually be destructive for local Internet cultures, especially with monopolies as big as Googe. The Great Firewall is a protective measure at its core but also allows Chinese culture and big data to independently fourish. In this case, walls are providing a safe environment for innovation and prevent global homogenates.
Post-production Marco here again with the growing influence of the Chinese Internet, I'm going to make a prediction that over the next 5 to 10 years we're going to see. China slowly but not completely tear down its firewall, and other nations start to build their own version of a firewall, and I don't see this as necessarily good or bad. Maybe a lot of new tech companies will spawn as a result. I see this as the inevitable future direction of the Internet.