Do you understand by country censorship on Twitter; does it change anything for you?


Just wondering what would happen, if I posted my comments on Twitter like this, embedded in an image. If my message was in contravention of some complaint that would cause my tweet to be censored under normal circumstances (if it was a text tweet). Would my image be censored; would it buy me some time before the message was spotted, for an objection to be raised or a rule applied, and the tweet filtered? An interesting idea to play with.

I’m really interested in your thoughts on this change. If you answered “No” or “Not really” please see the links below to learn more. I hope you’ll post in the comments or send a reply to @lissnup about this. For example:

  • will this make any difference to you as a Twitter user?
  • will users stick it out and find inventive work-arounds?
  • will you change any of your user habits?
  • would you look for an alternative micro-blogging platform to share status updates?
  • are free services more susceptible to unwelcome changes or restrictions?
  • would you “pay for a say” in how a social network is designed and managed?
  • are you “locked-in” to Twitter by your existing habits, network, reputation, etc?
  • Google’s announced combining all privacy policies etc – do you see a connection?
  • Internet users and ISPs are facing increasing legislative challenges (ie ACTA, SOPA/PIPA) – do you see a connection?

19 thoughts on “Do you understand by country censorship on Twitter; does it change anything for you?

  1. Kaymee

    I think it unfortunate that corporations believe we are brainwashed enough to be grateful they are only complying with our censorship instead of programming it. I am not appeased by the compromise offered by twitter as Europe is coordinating their regulations with the USA. Twitter stating that they will make tweets censored in one country available in others (when the tweet is not specifically censored by those other countries) begins to sound like prevarication given this international cooperation among governments. Regarding a willingness to pay for services that don’t comply – why should I? “Free” social networking sites make plenty of money re-selling user information and/or in marketing. Even if I could afford a pay-for service, I would not use one.

    • @Kaymee excellent points, the #censorship-by-country already feels like a compromise. It also means that the “choice” users have (had?) about whether to use location on Twitter or not is meaningless. As far as paying, I would like to see some options: perhaps an ad-free network, or one where users pay if they are able, and those without funds or access to electronic payments have access subsidised by advertising. In all cases, I would like to see an option where identity is protected and privacy is respected, like Diaspora* but with better spam controls.

  2. I’m inclined to think it’s all connected. Patriarchy is a system of control, so any ‘coloring outside the lines’ is perceived as a threat to that system and must be reigned in. It won’t change how I use social media… yet. I don’t like it, but have long assumed anything I say or do can already be accessed by the powers that be… lawfully or not.

  3. djirdjirak

    Well, I mainly joined twitter to fight dictatorship and defend freedom, so how can I possibly accept twitter behaving as a dictator ? This censorship “by country” looks like twitter accepting the dictatorial laws of those countries and saying: you see, it’s not our fault. They even find ways to promote their “flexibility” on that point…
    I guess that is just capitalism at its worst. And it’s one of the problems of democracy: mainstream sells and dictates its laws.

  4. At the end of the day, Twitter is (or wants to be) a commercial enterprise. They will try to enter the Chinese market, and other markets as well, where free speech is or might not be respected. I think the move of Twitter is very unfortunate. I can’t see how they want to enforce it. Monitoring every tweet…? That’s a damn scary thought. Who tells them which tweet to erase and which tweet to let go? Will they hand over “erase power” to state authorities? But: if Twitter keeps going on like this, I am quite sure, that “dissident minded” people will find other outlets for their thoughts. That, again, is the power of “the market”.

    • Good point re #China, @yorikiri Also, will Twitter censorship apply to #Iran – will the regime demand all tweets blocked, since Twitter is supposed to be blocked in Iran?

  5. #Censorship “Previously, when #Twitter blocked a tweet, it was removed entirely, and could not be seen anywhere in the world.”

    So previously, when users would be demanding to know “Why are you blocking my tweets with “x” hashtag?” and Twitter would say “We are not blocking hashtags” what they really meant was “We are blocking you.” or “We are blocking [some of] your tweets.”

    Initial quote paraphrased from Al Jazeera English’ Inside Story. Presenter James Bays joined by Wael Abbas, an Egyptian blogger and political activist; Danvers Baillieu, a co-founder of Bootlaw and senior associate at international law firm Pinsent Masons; and Tom Royal, a deputy editor for the Computer Active Magazine.

  6. another thing I don’t understand: Twitter says they will erase tweets “on demand” from authorities / countries where this particular tweet was written and is deemed to be against the law. How long will it take until the tweet is taken off the air? Most tweets are “history” after one minute, so what’s the point to erase it after one hour and one day? And in most respectable countries, it’s a matter of the justice system to rule a tweet being “against a law”. And it most respectable countries, this judicial procedure is a matter of months, if not years. Or will we see a Wild West type of censorship system established on and with twitter where the rule is: erase first, judge later? Questions remain…

    • tw: @yorikiri Twitter’s always been “Wild West Web”. Even though some say this #censorship change is an indication of the company’s maturation process, they are taking juvenile actions to support what should be adult decisions. I’ll be interested to see your post if you decide to write about this. I might try to put a circumvention/coping/exit strategy guide together in due course, once a few tried and tested ideas surface.

  7. #Censorship: #Twitter suspended 4 accounts between Feb 16-18, 2012 that parodied/caricatured @NicolasSarkozy tw: Is it illegal to parody the president in #France? No, it is not. How does Twitter explain this breach of its own TOS, and its own statement on how censorship would be applied? It doesn’t. Twitter has never had the common decency to universally and transparently respond to criticism or questions. It just has a blanket “going home and taking my ball with me” clause that covers all and any eventualities.

    • #France’s Sarkozy had harmless Twitter parody accounts banned, then spreads false news on #Syria tw:

      The French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, has retracted an earlier statement that the injured French journalist Edith Bouvier had been evacuated from Syria to Lebanon.

      His statement came on a dramatic and confusing day on which it was earlier revealed that Paul Conroy, the British Sunday Times photographer, had been rescued.

      Sarkozy had told BFM TV in Montpellier, where he was campaigning before the French elections: “I am glad this nightmare is ending. The negotiations [for her release] were not terribly easy, they really weren’t.”

      It was unclear at the time whether he had independent confirmation of her rescue, and he was later forced to retract that statement.

  8. Can I make a #Sarkastic joke about #France cutting pesticide use in half, or will @Twitter delete my account? tw: – “Over in France, a farmer has successfully sued Monsanto for pesticide poisoning. The farmer claims he suffered a raft of neurological troubles after inhaling the agrochemical giant’s Lasso herbicide while cleaning his sprayer in 2004. The court’s ruling against Monsanto “could lend weight to other health claims against pesticides,” according to Reuters.”

    All very interesting, but what caught my eye was this background bit toward the end of the story:

    France, the EU’s largest agricultural producer, is now targeting a 50 percent reduction in pesticide use between 2008 and 2018, with initial results showing a 4 percent cut in farm and non-farm use in 2008-2010.

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