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Twitter Censors Content, Draws Huge Criticism

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Twitter announced on [URL="http://blog.twitter.com/2012/01/tweets-still-must-flow.html"]their blog[/URL] on January 26, 2012 that they now have the ability to censor content from country to country to allow them to be able to "exist" in countries with different view points. Here is a blurb from the post:

"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 available in the rest of the world. We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why."

After[URL="http://www.forbes.com/sites/markgibbs/2012/01/26/twitter-commits-social-suicide/"] much criticism[/URL] and a planned protest #[URL="http://mashable.com/2012/01/27/twitter-boycott/"]twitterblackout[/URL] on January 28, 2011, Twitter updated their blog post with the following:

"[B]Update - Jan 27, 2:20pm. [/B]
Since yesterday’s post, we’ve gotten a number of questions that we’d like to broadly address with this update.

In short, we believe the new, more granular approach to withheld content is a good thing for freedom of expression, transparency, accountability— and for our users. Besides allowing us to keep Tweets available in more places, it also allows users to see whether we are living up to our freedom of expression ideal.

Q: Do you filter out certain Tweets before they appear on Twitter?
A: No. Our users now send a billion Tweets every four days—filtering is neither desirable nor realistic. With this new feature, we are going to be reactive only: that is, we will withhold specific content only when required to do so in response to what we believe to be a valid and applicable legal request.

As we do today, we will evaluate each request before taking any action. Any content we do withhold in response to such a request is clearly identified to users in that country as being withheld. And we are now able to make that content available to users in the rest of the world.

Q: What will people see if content is withheld?
A: If people are located in a country where a Tweet or account has been withheld and they try to view it, they will see a alert box that says “Tweet withheld” or “@Username[URL="http://twitter.com/Username"][/URL]withheld” in place of the affected Tweet or account."

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