Jan 30 2012

Twitter Adopts New, Country-Specific Policies

A proposed mass boycott of the website, Twitter.com by users on Saturday did not gain steam despite 48 hours of outrage expressed throughout the social media site over a policy change announced on Thursday. Through a blog post on Twitter.com the company informed users that individual tweets may be blocked if content violates the laws of the user’s country. This is not a complete reversal of policy for the microblogging site but Twitter came under fire from users who accuse it of cow-towing to oppressive regimes in order to expand its global presence for profit. Twitter explained how blocking Tweets will work, saying, “Until now, the only way we could take account of a 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 …[i]f and when we are required to withhold a tweet we will attempt to let the user know and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld.” The company used laws in Germany and France that prohibit pro-Nazi activities as examples of country specific laws that may lead to blocked tweets. The company alluded to, but did not name, nations with much broader laws against speech and stated, “As we continue to grow internationally we will enter countries with different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some will differ so much that we will not be able to exist there.” The site has pledged to report blocked tweets to ChillingEffect.org, a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a handful of law schools that track, among other things, legal orders to remove online content. However the microblogging site reserves the right to abide by any gag orders imposed by a country that bars disclosure of the details of censored tweets.

GUEST: Eva Galperin, International Activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Visit www.eff.org for more information.

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Twitter Adopts New, Country-Specific Policies”

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