Freedom of expression concerns over Twitter’s country-specific censorship ability prompt users to call for #TwitterBlackout and #TwitterCensored protest

Via Scoop.itMediaMentor
[excerpt] In a bid to “enter countries that may have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” Twitter announced that it has the ability to begin censoring tweets on a country-by-country basis, the Associated Press (AP) reported Thursday, Jan. 26. The announcement has prompted fears that Twitter’s commitment to free expression might be taking a back seat to profitability — especially in light of the role Twitter played in the Arab spring and protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the United States. Ironically, Twitter’s announcement comes just a year after the Jan. 25, 2011, start of the Egyptian revolution, during which more than 3 million related tweets were sent, prompting a report from the Project on Information Technology and Political Islam to declare that during the Arab spring, “social media became a critical part of the toolkit for greater freedom,” according to the Huffington Post. Despite a year ago arguing that “the tweets must flow” and declaring that “we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content,” Twitter now says it has “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.” Doing so is necessary, the company contends, because “as we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” and Twitter must uphold local laws. NPR questioned whether the potential censorship is a result of Twitter’s desire to begin operating in China, where in 2010 Google, which had been censoring results in order to operate in the country, announced that it would stop censorship after a falling out with the Chinese government, explained the Wall Street Journal. With hashtags like #TwitterBlackout and #TwitterCensored, users have started a campaign to protest Twitter’s new policy, calling for no one to use the micro-blogging site on Saturday, reported the Washington Post and the Huffington Post. [see original story for embeded links]
Via knightcenter.utexas.edu

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About @mediamentor
Information Curation, Communication & Media / Cure d'information, communication et medias http://mediamentor.ca

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