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NEW YORK (AP) -- Twitter, a tool of choice for dissidents and activists around the world, found itself the target of global outrage Friday after unveiling plans to allow country-specific censorship of tweets that might break local laws.
It was a stunning role reversal for a youthful company that prides itself in promoting unfettered expression, 140 characters at a time. Twitter insisted its commitment to free speech remains firm, and sought to explain the nuances of its policy, while critics - in a barrage of tweets - proposed a Twitter boycott and demanded that the censorship initiative be scrapped.
"This is very bad news," tweeted Egyptian activist Mahmoud Salem, who operates under the name Sandmonkey. Later, he wrote, "Is it safe to say that (hash)Twitter is selling us out?"
San Francisco-based Twitter, founded in 2006, depicted the new system as a step forward. Previously, when Twitter erased a tweet, it vanished throughout the world. Under the new policy, a tweet breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.
Twitter said it will post a censorship notice whenever a tweet is removed and will post the removal requests it receives from governments, companies and individuals at the website chillingeffects.org.
The critics are jumping to the wrong conclusions, said Alexander Macgilliviray, Twitter's general counsel.
"This is a good thing for freedom of expression, transparency and accountability," he said. "This launch is about us keeping content up whenever we can and to be extremely transparent with the world when we don't. I would hope people realize our philosophy hasn't changed."
What was the role of social media?
Social media must work hand-in-hand with an ability to mobilize citizens. It is far too easy to simply “Friend” or “Like” a movement on Facebook and a retweet is never enough. The challenge is to put boots on the street, as protesters in Tunisia, Egypt or Libya know only too well.
Everyone agrees that social media add new arrows to the quivers of social activists. These social media can be helpful in: a) mobilizing protesters rapidly; b) undermining a regime’s legitimacy; or c) increasing national and international exposure to a regime’s atrocities. Any use of these social media is likely to be more successful in a country that has some form of democracy; so far, the exit of Tunisia’s Ben Ali is the only example we have of social media non-violently ousting an autocrat.
Originally posted by pianopraze
The world will not stand for such Tweetment.
The Twitterpation with Twitter is gone forever.
Oh how tweet it is....
*waits for rotten tomatoes to fly*