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?