Twitter has announced that it will begin to censor tweets and accounts on a country-by-country basis, revealing the company’s intent to expand further internationally while adhering to various countries’ “limits” on freedom of expression.
Previously, if Twitter was forced to remove a tweet it would be done so globally, effecting all users. Now, tweets can be selectively blocked from users in specific countries to comply solely with national restrictions.
When tweets or entire accounts are censored from a user’s stream, they will now be served a notice in lieu of such, explaining the reason behind the removal.
Twitter receives requests for the removal of certain tweets under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) on an almost daily basis. Most of the takedown notices refer to specific tweets linking to websites containing copyrighted music videos, movies and clips of sporting events. Twitter has likely received similar notices from disgruntled governments around the world, unhappy with the uncontrolled flow of information.
In its defense, Twitter has stated that its service simply could not exist in some countries without allowing tweets to be censored in some way. This compromise to enable Twitter to exist in emerging countries may be described as unhealthy by some, but may be necessary to allow the tweets to flow in some form, however restricted.