Twitter faced huge back lash when it announced recently that it would start censoring tweets in particular countries. Augmentatives about freedom of speech and civil rights were flung left, right and centre. But we have to look at the reasons why Twitter is doing it before jumping the gun and accusing them of breaching peoples freedom of speech.
Regardless of your outlook on laws and freedom, not every country works the same away and offers the same rights. Yes, we luckily westerners do have that luxury of more freedom than others have and no, we don’t have to like or agree with other nations not allowing it but it is a fact of life. So no, maybe it isn’t fair but Twitter is better of existing in a country and abiding by their rules, than being banned all together and thus not giving those nationals a chance to express opinions on the platform at all. If there are laws which they need to abide by in order to stay open and used in that nation, they are best doing so in order to allow those people some speech. And it is free speech Twitter is offering (to a degree) in the fact that these people can tweet what they like but only a handful of countries wont be seeing it. Thus, maybe even more freedom to express them selves than they had before when they could just be closed down when a complaint was lodged and they were just simply deleted and banned.
World Wide Censorship V National Censorship
Surely it is better to block a tweet or user from being seen in just one nation than it is to block them entirely from everyone everywhere? They can still say what they wish but be within the rules and safe of their nation but have an audience as well. No, it’s far from ideal and yes, it may be that they want a local audience but the point is that they still have an audience and that’s what matters. To have any listeners is better than to have none.
After all, Twitter is already completely blocked in China and Iran meaning those citizens have no audience at all, no way of tweeting, less way of expressing themselves publicly. Therefore, sending tweets to the majority of the world is better than being blocked in a country all together. Sometimes it really is a case of “the best of a bad situation”.
This is an arguemnt that Twitter CEO Dick Costolo agrees with and even argued on stage at AllThingsD conference yesterday:
Now, when we are issued a valid legal order in a country in which we operate, such as a DMCA takedown notice, we are able to leave the content up for as many people around the world as possible, while still operating within the local law. You can’t operate in these countries and choose the laws you want to abide by” ~ Courtesy of Mashable
Key Take Away
Twitter is doing the best it can to appease everyone in a very a difficult and sensitive situation. Maybe rather than having an issue with Twitter censoring tweets, you should take a step back and think of why they are doing it. It’s not Twitter doing it by choice, it’s the rules that they must abide by under unfair governments. To even have a platform for speech available is better than being reckless, not listening to the law and being banned all together. There are times in life when you will be put in a position between a rock and hard place, and no, you can never please everyone all of the time, you just have to do what you think is best and in this circumstance, I think Twitter chose right. It’s not perfect, it may not be fair when you consider the rights we take for granted, but it’s better than not having a platform at all.
~ Articles: http://mashable.com/2012/01/30/twitter-not-censoring-dick-costolo/