Friday, January 27, 2012

Tweet withheld

Yesterday Twitter announced on its blog that they will start implementing selective tweet censoring based on geographical location.

Idea is to hide certain tweets in the requested country "only when required to do so in response to what we [Twitter] believe to be a valid and applicable legal request."

From their blog announcement, Twitter suggests that they are implementing this tweet "withholding" to meet legal requirements such as copyright infringement.  But it's not clear whether they will start censoring tweets based on government's request.  What if Syrian government requests Twitter to block all tweets that are related to anti-government movement?  Will Twitter apply their censoring to all regimes' requests?

It's a very slippery slope.  By setting up the precedence of censorship, Twitter will lose user's confidence as the global microblogging media that helped bring about 2011 Arab Spring.

Update 10:43PM PST 1/28: I've slept on this topic, and shared a few perspectives on Twitter's censorship announcement.  You can read them here.

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