Micro-blogging network, Twitter has announced it will be able to block tweets from being viewed in specific regions and countries, allowing it to promise censorship of certain topics to those countries that should require them. The country-blocked tweets will still be visible internationally however.
Aware of what this means for the freedom of expression its, Twitter remains in agreement with its long held stance, that the freedom “carries with it responsibilities, and has limits.” Its latest move is just a way to ensure that their services are available to more users across regions. The blog post announcing the “ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country,” elaborated on the decision:
“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.”
“One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user’s voice. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can't. The Tweets must continue to flow.”
Twitter says it has not yet used this tweet censor ability, but has built in measures to clearly mark the blocked tweets, and to notify users as to reason of why their content has been withheld in specific regions. More information can be found on the Twitter policy pages, and user account settings.