Twitter announced last week that it would start withholding tweets on a country-by-country basis, at the request of specific governments. And although the company has yet to act on this new policy, two governments have already come out in favor of it. And neither of these governments are known for their freedom of speech.
Twitter says that if they do have to censor tweets, they will only do so in the country that requested the censorship – meaning the rest of Twitter will still be able to see the offending tweet or account. And they’ll be transparent about when and what they withhold.
Yesterday morning, an official from Thailand went on the record praising Twitter’s new policy, calling it a “constructive” development.
And in the evening, China followed suit.
“It is impossible to have boundless freedom, even on the Internet and even in countries that make freedom their main selling point.
The announcement of Twitter might have shown that it has already realized the fact and made a choice between being an idealistic political tool as many hope and following pragmatic commercial rules as a company.”
Twitter has been banned in China for years, and although this might appear to be the first move in thawing relations, the Wall Street Journal cites a Beijing-based internet watcher as saying it’s unlikely – the market is saturated by Twitter competitors, and Twitter’s pledge to publicize when a government requests content be censored likely won’t go over well with the Chinese regime.