In a recent post on TechCrunch, Twitter was reported to have used their country-to-country blocking powers for the first time. The popular social media platform, at the request of local authorities, acted on a request to deactivate a Neo-Nazi Twitter account. TechCrunch reported that-
Twitter users outside Germany can still view content from the @hannoverticker Twitter account of the banned group, but users trying to access it from within Germany will see a message saying the account is being withheld. This country-specific blocking policy was announced by Twitter in January as a compromise to tread the line between supporting free speech and being able to operate its service without breaking laws in all the different countries where the service is used.
Score one for the social media platform for policing the world. It looks like we have a “Little America” in our midst. While I am not in favor of any hate group on the planet in this life or the next, I see a doorway opening to a scary place.
I am a firm believer of free speech. I believe that everyone has the right to express their opinions openly and freely without persecution. However, there are moments like these that remind us that freedom of speech can be abused. We are reminded that there are people who practice their freedom of speech to endanger the welfare of others. Take for example screaming fire in a movie theater which causes a tidal wave of fear.
Should we be grateful that Twitter stopped the message of hate? Twitter should be allowed to moderate inappropriate on their platform but will this open the door to a broader avenue of censorship? The United States government tried to censor the Internet with SOPA and PIPA on their own but failed miserably. If they begin utilizing social media platforms to begin censoring on a more drastic level will this be the beginning of the end?
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“Censorship” image courtesy of Shutterstock.