Twitter Will Censor Tweets in Certain Countries
Article by George Norman
On 27 Jan 2012
Popular micro-blogging and social networking service Twitter has made an announcement that came as a shock for advocates of online freedom. Twitter announced that as it continues to grow at an international level, it will enter countries that do not view freedom of expression in the same manner the western world does. Even some western countries limit certain forms of expression – France and Germany for example ban pro-Nazi content. But I digress.

As I was saying, Twitter’s international growth takes it into countries that have different views on freedom of expression. For that reason, Twitter will start censoring tweets in certain countries. Here’s Twitter’s official explanation on why it chose to do that:


“Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries’ limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.”

Twitter went on to explain that it hasn’t used this new ability yet, but when it will have to use it, it will try to let the user know the content was withheld and why it was withheld. In collaboration with Chilling Effects, Twitter set up this webpage that makes it easier to find Twitter-related notices.

“One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can't. The Tweets must continue to flow,” concluded Twitter.

Demand Progress, organization that works to win progressive policy changes for ordinary people through organizing, lobbying, and elections in the United States, sent an open letter to Twitter, saying that choosing to censor tweets and rationalizing the decision by citing cultural differences is just tragic. Demand Progress is inviting anyone who cares about freedom of expression to sign the open letter to Twitter and stand against censorship.

Tags: Twitter, Demand Progress
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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