Content Marketing Blog

Changes to Twitter’s censorship rules concern free speech advocates

Twitter has changed the way it goes about distributing content, with the introduction of its latest privacy policy.

The social network now has the ability to censor tweets and take down comments it deems inappropriate for certain jurisdictions – a move that has been met with widespread criticism by writers and journalists around the world, who argue that it may in fact undermine free speech.

But in an interview with Dive into Media Twitter, chief executive officer Dick Costolo said that the update will encourage more people to use the site and share their opinions in regions where there are tighter controls over the way information is produced and distributed.

"There’s been no change in our stance or attitude or policy with respect to content on Twitter," asserted Costolo.

Rather Twitter is simply doing its best to comply with the laws of countries that may use a different framework than some of their Western counterparts.

"It is simply not the case you can operate in these countries and choose which of the laws we want [to adhere to]."

And while some commentators may not agree with Costolo's opinion, it seems that the chief executive officer is keen to promote a more flexible approach, emphasising to users that the policy change does not mean comments won't be seen by others, but rather that their share of the international audience may be slightly reduced.

""When we receive [a takedown notice] … we want to leave that content up for as many people as possible while adhering to local law," he explained.

The importance of 'local law' is something that Twitter and the internet continues to struggle with despite gains in recent years.

Business and technology expert Tim Worstall takes the issue further in his article for Forbes (January 27), saying: "The law that guides what we write or say upon the internet is not the law of the jurisdiction in which we write or say it…we are covered by the law of whatever jurisdiction the material is read in."

Posted by Aimee McBride