Twitter has long been a company that’s supported human rights, freedom of expression, and other such stances. So, it comes as a large shock to the Internet community as a whole that Twitter has decided to censor tweets in some countries. Even though it seemed as though Twitter would never do such a thing, the social media giant has decided that different countries have different ideas surrounding freedom of expression. In order to break into these markets, Twitter must abide by governing laws in certain companies if Twitter wants to expand and grow.
For obvious reasons, Twitter’s announcement that the company would be censoring tweets in various countries has been met with a lot of disdain, disbelief, and anger. Is Twitter justified in censoring tweets? Will this lead to censorship in North America? Has Twitter sold out in order to break into other markets? These questions have been circulating this morning as Twitter stands behind its decision to bring the social network to some countries with strict laws regarding social media.
Twitter sent out a press release explaining the company’s stance this morning. In this release (as reported by BoingBoing), Twitter stated that as the company“"enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression"” tweets must be censored in order to abide by those ideas. Reading between the lines, it seems like Twitter simply wants to expand its market and will do anything to get there. Of course, prior to conceding to various governmental laws, Twitter had no hope of entering various countries.
Now, those who live in censored countries will be able to tweet, though not so freely.
Does Twitter’s logic make sense? On the one hand, it is true that every country is different, but it’s also true that there’s a certain human freedom that should be considered (regardless of governmental laws). Based upon Twitter’s current logic, these human rights are being pushed aside in order to break into emerging markets. Still, from a business perspective solely, Twitter’s logic does make sense.
One has to wonder whether or not Twitter will turn away some current (and potential) users with its latest censorship news. Presently, tech blogs across the Internet are exploding with user comments that are filled with angst and rage. While some people who currently use Twitter understand the company’s stance, others are using terms like “sell out.” Twitter has always been the people’s social media platform (just take a look at some of the groundbreaking tweets of the past), but now those who have a revolutionary soul may boycott the very platform that once provided a voice for people in all parts of the world.
Is there a hashtag happening right now that protests Twitters new international censorship stance? At the moment, no such hashtag can be found, but that doesn’t mean that one won’t show up later today. How do you feel about Twitter’s new censorship stance? Is Twitter justified in setting up censored tweets within certain countries, or should Twitter hold out until those countries comply with Twitter regulations?