• Shut The Tweet Up? You’re Committing “Social Suicide”

    UPDATE: Letter from The Reporters Without Borders to Twitter Chairman
    Twitter, the platform that many say was an important tool in the Arab Spring uprising, has decided that this open forum will change and start to use forms of country-based censorship. This change has received a widespread backlash from Twitter users and beyond.  

    "If Twitter starts to censor, I'll stop tweeting." [Source:@jenmisstx]

    As announced on their official blog they will now enable county specific censorship of content on the site. Forbes describes this move as “social suicide”. The post is titled “Tweets still must flow” and the opening paragraph 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.” But there seems to be a misunderstanding in the press. Many sites have reported this to be a computer (algorithm) based process whereby a certain set of rules would determine what is censored.

    “Read this before you decide to join the somewhat misguided” [Source:@Kreepylady]

    These reports were inspired by a post that Mark Gibbs published, but he has since updated his post after Twitter contacted the Forbes reporter. This post was (perhaps) an all-too-fast knee-jerk reaction as later in the announcement by Twitter it clearly says that they will be “reactive only” and not blocking Tweets based on the content of them.

    Jodi Olson, communications expert for Twitter, contacted Mark Gibbs direct with the aim to clarify how Twitter’s censorship will work. She said, “What’s new today is that we now have the ability, when we have to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, to keep that Tweet visible for the rest of the world. We hold freedom of expression in high esteem and work hard not to remove Tweets.”

    The point Jodi made was that any filtering of content would be reactive and not-proactive. Where do you stand on this move and do you think this type of censorship adds any value? Interesting that 2011 was seen as the year that Social Media Democracy arrived and now, only a month into 2012 this type of social-shift made so famous by the Arab Spring is already looking nervous. See the YouTube video below from the Associated Press talking about this censorship from Twitter.