Twitter to censor tweets geographically


Twitter has revealed it can censor tweets in certain countries where messages may cause offence.

The micro-blogging company said it had not yet used the content blocking capability, but would clearly notify users who have their tweets censored.

Social networks have had to deal with numerous cultural issues as they spread across the world. Facebook has previously been forced to take action after images of the Prophet Muhammad appeared on the site.

We give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country.

"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content," Twitter said in a blog post.

"Until now, the only way we could take account of those countries' limits was to remove content globally. Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country - while keeping it available in the rest of the world."

Twitter has also allowed users to check what content is being blocked and why.

"One of our core values as a company is to defend and respect each user's voice. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can, and we will be transparent with users when we can't. The Tweets must continue to flow," Twitter added.

Twitter has taken a slightly less aggressive stance than Google, which has responded to censorship in a more ruthless fashion. One of the reasons the search giant threatened to pull out of China was over censorship issues.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.