Twitter Announces Ability To Censor Tweets By Country….. So Much For Free Speech

I guess that Twitter really doesn’t care about free speech, human rights, or anything else that really matters. Because the social networking giant has announced the ability to censor tweets by country:

As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.

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.

We haven’t yet used this ability, but if and when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld. As part of that transparency, we’ve expanded our partnership with Chilling Effects to share this new page, http://chillingeffects.org/twitter, which makes it easier to find notices related to Twitter.

Given the fact that the Arab Spring wouldn’t have happened without social network services like Twitter, this is not good in my opinion. Imagine the Syrians asking Twitter to censor tweets that they don’t like. Chilling isn’t it?

I really think that there’s more to this than what Twitter is saying. My guess is that they’re trying to curry favor with governments that don’t like Twitter. China is one of those countries as they block access to Twitter currently. If Twitter gave itself the ability to censor tweets, China may stop censoring them and Twitter has a new market to make a buck in.

Any other theories? Leave a note below.

One Response to “Twitter Announces Ability To Censor Tweets By Country….. So Much For Free Speech”

  1. Technically, since they are a private organisation, they do not have to give free speech, they can censor all they like.

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