Twitter Can Censor Your Content
Twitter has announced through it’s blog that it could “reactively withhold content from users in a specific country”. Basically, twitter is saying it has the right to remove content if it is against the laws of a particular country or if needed by special request.
This created a bit of controversy.
Is upholding Freedom of Speech important enough to break local laws?
Twitter Controversy – Freedom of Speech > Local Laws?
Freedom of information advocacy groups criticized the decision, afraid that it curbs the freedom of information and expression. Their concern is that it opens a dangerous precedent. Twitter’s response is that as they enter countries “that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” that they need to comply to such laws. One example is France and Germany banning pro-Nazi content. Of course, there are more controversial bans such as China’s famous suppression of information regarding Tienanmen Square, and more recently the killing sites discussing human rights issues during the Beijing games.
Google famously refused to cave into China’s censorship rules thus was never able to gain ample market share in the region. However remember China is a unique case of extreme censorship control.
Twitter has said that they have not used this ability yet, but if they do, they said “we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld”. They also admitted that some country’s views on this issue is so divergent that they won’t be able to exist there at all. China is one such country where twitter has been banned altogether due to being a source of news the government does not look kindly on.
Questions to Ponder about Twitter
- Is Freedom of Speech being violated considering this Local Laws of other countries may differ?
- Should we demand Twitter to uphold Freedom of Speech, if it means ignoring Local Laws if other countries?
- Is Freedom of Speech a right that goes beyond Laws, a higher right that everyone deserves?