Twitter caves on censorship overseas

Twitter Twitter has announced it will self-censor itself in foreign countries to satisfy the laws of those nations. Or, as Bloomberg, reports it, Twitter “gave itself extra flexibility to censor…” The New York Times calls it micro-censorship. Whatever, after the SOPA/PIPA fight in this country to prevent Internet censorship, it is particularly discouraging to read that an opponent of SOPA has decided to knuckle under overseas.

Mashable opines: “If this sounds to you like something Twitter said it would never do, you’re onto something. Last year, the company posted a similarly titled blog post, “The Tweets Must Flow.” “The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact,” the original post said. “Almost every country in the world agrees that freedom of expression is a human right. Many countries also agree that freedom of expression carries with it responsibilities and has limits.”

The Arab Spring is just the latest example of how oppressed people overseas have, with the aid of social media like Twitter, been able to organize opposition to their governments. How pathetic that an American corporation would now be willing to acquiesce to such governments and voluntarily restrict free speech and access to the Internet. Although Twitter cites bans on pro-Nazi propaganda in France and Germany as examples of national laws it is trying to obey, Bloomberg says Twitter wants to “censor information in parts of the world that impose restrictions on self-expression.” European nations are the last that come to mind in that case. Would or could the Arab Spring have happened at all if Twitter had done this 12-18 months ago?

“Twitter needs global expansion,” noted one analyst.

To hell with free speech across the world. Twitter must expand. It’s always about the money, isn’t it?

10 thoughts on “Twitter caves on censorship overseas

  1. Slippery slope arguments aren’t valid.
    The argument that a frog in cool water doesn’t notice when it’s slowly brought to a boil – is no better.
    Death by a thousand small, individually insignificant cuts isn’t a believable traitorous tactic.
    Voting for candidates that pay nothing more than lip service to constitutional limits and authority is
    Most of the time, we deserve what we get.

    1. It’s so discouraging. I’m a firm believer in capitalism, and yet it’s the profit motive (monetary or otherwise) that causes people, corporations, and government to run off the rails.

  2. It is all about the money and this is discouraging to me. Is it because a Saudi man invested money in Twitter not too long ago? I dunno the answer to that but I’m pissed that Twitter is censoring. You can’t speak about something one day and then in a weeks time just decide that it’s best to go ahead and do the complete opposite.

  3. I always think of the frog in warm water analogy: if you stay in the water you won’t notice how hot it’s getting. It’s with creeping infringements like this that we become immune to the loss of our freedom.

... and that's my two cents