January 30, 2012
Twitter’s Country Specific Censorship May Be Good for Human Rights
Twitter announced a new censorship policy recently that would allow the company to block Tweets on a country by country basis. If, for example, Germany wanted to block a Tweet it believed violated copyright, that Tweet would only be made unavailable to Germans. Twitter will block Tweets in a country “In the face of a valid and applicable legal order.”
This new policy initially met with negative reaction, including calls for protesting Twitter on January 28.
Some are saying the new policy is actually one of the best ways a global social media company can protect free speech. Twitter has been required to remove offending material for some time, DMCA complaints in countries like the U.S. are one easy to understand example. Once removed, these Tweets are no longer available to anyone. The new policy would allow Twitter to block offending content in only the country that is complaining about that content, based on IP address.
Here is where most supporters agree that Twitter has gone above and beyond in this new policy. While the Tweet is removed from the new country, it is listed on a new section of the chilling effects web site – www.chillingeffects.org/twitter . This action essentially allows the rest of the community to be aware not only that the Tweet was removed, but the content of the Tweet. Tracking the actions of oppressive regimes would be possible with this type of scheme.
In addition, Twitter has shared information on how to circumvent it’s blocking policy by manually changing your country setting, essentially associating your IP address with a different country.
This has led one well-respected blogger to comment “In this particular policy, Twitter has done everything it can do to help free-speech advocates around the world except deliver coffee and bagels in the morning.”
The devil is in the details, so we will need to wait and see how Twitter implements the policy and whether oppressive regimes block the site entirely because of the easy circumvention and public awareness of censorship.
Author: admin | Share:
- Technorati Media names Rohan Chandran as SVP of Product
- Technorati Media CEO set to keynote SMSS Chicago
- Technorati Media’s 2013 Digital Influence Report
- Spending on social is up, but is it going to the right place?
- Research: YouTube beats Facebook with consumers