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Twitter announces it will censor some tweets; activists worried


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twitter-announces-censor-tweets-activists-worried-article-1.1012804NY Daily News:

Twitter service may be getting spotty in some countries.

The micro-blogging firm announced on the company blog Thursday that it plans to change its censorship policies to comply with different countries' regulations.

"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression," the post read. "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 comment."

Users' tweets will be blocked in a country where they are against the law, but shown in nations where they are legal. For example, a pro-Nazi tweet may be scrubbed in Germany, but would appear on the user's account if read in the U.S.

When Twitter removes a comment, it says it will clearly mark when a Tweet has been censored and send it to the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, which is creating a database of tweets deleted not only because of censorship but also as a result of cease-and-desist notices and copyright infringement.

The news comes a year after Twitter played a crucial part in the Egyptian revolution and other Arab Spring protests.

Twitter was also credited with being a key tool in the Iranian protests of the 2009 elections and some pundits pointed to the service as key in the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

The move, while it could be disappointing for some revolutionaries, follows a similar policy to Google, The Associated Press pointed out — and could help Twitter expand from 100 million active users to more than 1 billion around the world.

"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," the company added.

On Twitter, users protested the move with a #dontcensor campaign.

Media advocacy group Reporters Without Borders also announced on Twitter that it would send a letter protesting the move.

“Reporters Without Borders is very worried by #Twitter’s decision to cooperation with #censorship,” the group tweeted.



The next revolution won't be tweeted?

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