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Twitter Censorship Communications Government Social Networks

How Will You React To Twitter's Regional Censorship Plan? 181

Posted by timothy
from the 140-chars-plus-the-evil-bit dept.
Despite (and probably partly because of) its much-touted role as a communications link in the Arab Spring protest movements of the last year, Twitter announced a few days ago that it could be (which I take to mean "will be, and probably are") selectively blocking tweets based on local governments' requests. This AP story (as carried by stuff.co.nz) gives an overview of the negative reaction this move has drawn; unsurprisingly, there's talk of a boycott. The EFF has what seems to be a fair look at the reality of Twitter take-downs, noting that for various reasons they remove certain content already, but not as much as some parties would like; VentureBeat looks at the thousands of take-down notices the company received last year. If you use Twitter, does the recently announced region-specific blocking change what you'll use it for?
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How Will You React To Twitter's Regional Censorship Plan?

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  • by nurb432 (527695) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:38PM (#38857807) Homepage Journal

    Is now out the window. Expect tons of lawsuits due to content posted/saved/viewed. They will now be liable for the content to, not just the end users.

    Not a good status to lose, with the upcoming legislation like SOPA..

  • Re:I won't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:40PM (#38857835)
    I will, by continuing to not have a twitter account or pay attention to tweets
  • Re:Don't know. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:50PM (#38857925)

    Yeah, since I'm neither a twelve year old girl nor a "professional blogger", I'll probably just continue to not use the shitty service. They can do what they like with it and those who don't like the changes will maybe get a clue and move on to something less fucking inane.

  • Orgy of stupidity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vandoravp (709954) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:56PM (#38857977) Homepage
    It seems as though nobody who is reacting to what Twitter has stated actually read or thought about the new policy, instead parading headlines like “Social Suicide”. It's easily the most subversive and transparent approach to censorship to date. They are already obliged by law to remove content in various countries, and have done so. The alternative is complete blocking of the service by the country. Until now, complying required removing content globally. What Twitter has done is made it possible to only remove content in the country that requested the block (reactively, like DMCA takedowns), while still leaving it visible to the rest of the world.

    Now countries with screwball notions of free speech cannot affect beyond their borders. Also, those *inside* the country will be notified that they are seeing blocked content, instead of just an absence, and the censoring will be documented on Chilling Effects. Before, if content were censored, it would be impossible to see it no matter where you are, or where you pretended to be. Now, people's voices can still get out, the oppression of their voices will be more apparent, and it's still possible to get around the censorship if necessary.
  • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @12:58PM (#38858001)
    "common carrier" status is an internal (as in inside the country) concept.

    Common carrier often prevent content from reaching beyond the countries borders.

    Anyone who lives in Canada sees this all the time with big US providers blocking content to Canada. And the reverse is true as well, where Canada prevents (or tries) certain content from getting in.

    Twitter blocking content sent to Canada would not be much different then US superbowl ads being blocked from coming into Canada on the cable/satellite feeds. That it's done for copyright reasons over whatever reasons is not Twitter's issue. That they may choose to try to attempt to obey the laws of the countries they are blocking tweets to (at least I would gather this is why they would be blocking any tweets) has little to do with "common carrier" status.
  • by Mistlefoot (636417) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:05PM (#38858067)
    To add to my above post:

    If I ship a bag of weed via purolator courier, purolator has no idea what it is and it is protected. Purolator is not expected, and should not ever, be opening my package to see what it is. When purolator reaches the border, purolator would, as a common carrier, not be able to DEMAND that the package not be opened or checked or what not.

    But the grand parent suggests that if purolator allowed the border to stop the package, they would lose common carrier status and that simply is incredibly speculative.
  • Re:I won't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vlm (69642) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:16PM (#38858139)

    On the other hand, the so called social media craze (I'm including in that the full spectrum, from twitter, to myspace) seems quite more widespread than the cb on the 70's.

    The numbers are much smaller than CB. Here's an interesting article.

    http://billcrosby.com/socialmedia/how-many-twitter-users-are-there-really-graph/ [billcrosby.com]

    Depending on how you interpret the data, around 1 in 50 americans actually use twitter. At one point in the 70s, darn near 1 in 10 cars had a CB radio installed.

    If you think about it, it makes sense. Most people have nothing to say, and are not interested in passively listening to others. Also its exceedingly circular, its not a surprise that most of the people you personally hang out with are into social media if you define the persons you hang out with as people who are into social media... This is the "everyone is a trekkie" effect where all the trekkies hang out together believing the entire world is trekkies because everyone they know is a trekkie.

  • Re:I won't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Sunday January 29, 2012 @01:37PM (#38858303)
    I am neither on Twitter nor on Facebook, and...
    1. I have a girlfriend
    2. I am routinely invited to parties
    3. I have friends who share various interests with me
    4. I talk to my friends, family, girlfriend, acquaintances, etc.

    So what was that about people with social lives? Where I am from, one's social life is not defined by some website's list of followers, friends, freaks, or whatever else.

  • by SteveFoerster (136027) <{moc.retsreofevets} {ta} {evets}> on Sunday January 29, 2012 @03:44PM (#38859033) Homepage

    I think we're in a battle for the heart and soul of the Internet, and that Twitter just announced they're on the bad guys' side. So my response was to delete my Twitter account, tell the company why I did so in their contact us form, and blog about it [elearners.com].

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