Misguided Twitter Protests… And Why Twitter Could Have Explained Itself Better
from the think-this-through dept
Last week, Twitter announced that it now had the ability to block tweets geographically, if necessary. As we noted at the time, this appeared to be a way to limit the impact of censorship to certain countries. That is, rather than completely taking down content (as it would do before), instead it would limit the blocks to just the geographic region. On top of that, it would be quite transparent about this — posting all info to ChillingEffects, and trying to let users know if they were visiting the page of a censored tweet.
Unfortunately, many people interpreted this as Twitter giving in to censors and allowing censorship. But that’s a misreading of the situation. Again: Twitter already takes down content when required by law. Now it’s trying to limit such takedowns. However, because people interpreted this to mean it was getting into the censorship business, there were protests against Twitter, which I think missed the point entirely.
The folks over at EFF have a good explainer post that details why this policy actually means less censorship, not more.
That said, Twitter still deserves some of the blame for the way in which it presented this. While it mentioned it in passing, it should have focused much more heavily on the fact that this was an attempt to limit the ability of countries to more widely censor info. Of course, there are some who believe Twitter should simply stand up against any and all attempts to take down content — but the fact is that there are legal situations in which content is ordered to be taken down via a court order. In this case, Twitter is providing a lot more info and transparency than it was before. That’s a good thing… but it’s really not how they positioned their own story.