Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Twitter Now Censoring Tweets

CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo announced on Monday, January 30 at the “Dive Into Media” conference that was hosted by All Things D that Twitter’s ability to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis is not meant to be a way to proactively filter out content.

There has been a lot of backlash from Twitter users after the micro-blogging site announced that it now has the ability to block any tweets that go against the restrictions on speech that some countries have. Costolo went on to explain that this new policy will allow Twitter to handle government requests to remove certain contents from Twitter in a much more transparent manner.

"This is purely a reactive capability, we don't proactively go do anything," Costolo said.

So now, when Twitter is issued a legal takedown of certain content, the company will be able to hide that content from users in the specific country that requested the takedown, while everyone else not in that country will still be able to see the content.

"There has been no change in our stance or attitude or policy with respect to content on Twitter," Costolo said. He added that Twitter believes "this is the most honest, transparent, and forward-looking way for a company to deal with the myriad of complex issues around the world that you experience when you have to operate in these countries."

Costolo said that such a policy is necessary for Twitter to be able to operate in certain countries. However, he went on to explain that this policy is not an attempt for Twitter to expand into China, where Twitter is currently banned.

"I don't think the current environment in China is one in which we think we could operate," he said. "We would love for people in China to be able to use Twitter the way we want them to be able to use it, which is speaking freely and letting their voices be heard by as many people around the world as possible, we would love that."

While Costolo was being interviewed, he also discussed several other topics, including Twitter’s stance on the use of the social media site in the 2012 election.
"I really think 2012 is going to be the Twitter election," he said.

So far, almost all of the Republican presidential candidates have utilized Twitter.
"Candidates that don't participate on Twitter while the conversation is happening will be left behind," Costolo said. "Tomorrow morning will be too late to react to what was said the day before."

Costolo also made sure to mention that Twitter is not concerned with its competition. It is focusing only on itself. "We are going to be really patient about the way we build the business," he said. "We are trying to build a decades-long, lasting business."

Sources: All Things D - Twitter’s Dick Costolo on Ads, Censorship and Google (Video) and PCMag - Twitter CEO Talks Censoring Tweets, Politics, and IPOs

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