Twitter who has over 200 Million users, announced on their blog today that if required by law, they can censor tweets and even on a country-by-country basis. Being that the word censor is involved, this is sure to spark some controversy and debate amongst the Internet community.
With SOPA and PIPA still on many people’s minds, censorship is a touchy subject. People want and require a free Internet and that means freedom of speech is an obvious right. And with the recent protests, people have shown they will fight for that. With that said, users of the social network shouldn’t be too worried about the whole situation.
“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 up in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.”
Sounds scary at first, but Marketing Land goes on to explain more.
“So far, Twitter tells me that virtually all of the tweets it has had to pull have been due to complaints filed through the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That will continue to be the case going forward, and any request made under US laws to remove content will continue to pull that content from Twitter worldwide. However, now if Twitter gets a request to remove content under the laws of another country, it can react to remove that content just for people in those particular countries.”
They’ve been pulling piracy or copyright related content for a while now. This announcement simply means that they may begin disclosing DMCA takedowns, similar to what Google does in search. This new process could also be to help protect the social network if they are to expand in other countries.
“What’s new is that eventually, Twitter may expand to having staff based in other countries. That makes the company more liable to legal actions in those countries, so it needs a way to comply with those legal demands. The new “Country Withheld Content” change gives it a framework to do so.”
How do you feel about Twitter censoring content that the law requires? Good or bad?