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Twitter changes its policy on global censorship

Twitter announced on Thursday that it would be implementing the ability to withhold content from users in a specific country. Before the announcement, Twitter’s only option was to remove the content globally.

Despite being held by critics to its lofty ideals, the manner in which Twitter is implementing its geographic censorship is rather elegant. For a start the company is being honest and open about the change. While some argue that Twitter should draw a line in the sand, the company can be more influential by having a presence in a country, rather than none at all.

About expanding its presence in countries with sensitive censorship laws Twitter states:

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.

Twitter seems committed to continue playing an integral part in human rights and freedom of expression as it did during the uprisings last year.

If and when content is being censored in a country, users will be notified as stipulated in Twitter’s updated privacy policy:

Xeni Jardin from BoingBoing.net asked Jillian York, Director of International Freedom of Expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, for her take on the policy change and she responded as follows:

From my view, this isn’t different from how Twitter’s already been handling court-ordered requests, except that it won’t affect users outside of a given country. Given their moves to open an office in the UK (with all of its crazy defamation laws), I can see why they’ve taken this route. It’s unfortunate that they may have to censor any content at all, but I applaud their move to be as transparent as possible about it.

Following Google, Twitter becomes the second major company this week to publicly announce changes to its privacy policy.

Author | Martin Carstens

Martin Carstens
Obsessed with technology and the future, I write words for machines and people. Born in South Africa, now living in the United States. More


  1. Door Furniture

    January 27, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    I am glad to see this given the amount of power that gets abused on twitter. A communication tool yes but its wrong when harsh messages are exchanged.

  2. John Gallen

    January 31, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Does that mean we could get all those One Direction, Ladygaga and Bieber posts banned from my country, that’s great news!!

  3. Pingback: Privly: Organise your next coup online, in total privacy | memeburn

  4. Pingback: Privly Lets Users Post & Read Encrypted Content From Any Website | Tech Wire Asia

  5. Pingback: Twitter makes first local account block against German hate group | memeburn

  6. Lenin VJ Nair

    February 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Thank you for the comment. Indeed, it was painful to see such a great device trashed.

  7. Name

    February 8, 2013 at 5:45 am

    I completely agree

  8. Lenin VJ Nair

    February 8, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Thank you…

  9. ray ogden

    February 10, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    well I am looking forward to buying one , I like the fact that my phone and my laptop/tablet will all be connected together so that my notes will be avlable for me as I need them. I see this as taking me to the tech edge, making it easy for me ! to enjoy Window’s 8 , Bing, and other on line apps

  10. Lenin VJ Nair

    February 27, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Thanks for the comment. Indeed it is a great tablet to buy.

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