Saturday, January 28, 2012

#OccupyMINDS Twitter Censorship Outrage

Twitter Censorship Outrage:

twitter outrageTalk about cat amongst pigeons: Twitter’s announcement that it will enable country-specific censorship has the twittersphere in uproar. From Al Jazeera:

In an announcement on its official blog, the micro-blogging service Twitter has said it will enable country-specific censorship of content on the site.

True to the form of the medium, the service was immediately abuzz with questions, criticisms and conspiracies about Thursday’s announcement.

In a bid to show the service can still be used for dissent, some users have called for a boycott on Saturday, organised around the hashtag #TwitterBlackout.

In a Forbes article highly circulated on the micro-blogging site early Friday, Mark Gibbs wrote that San Francisco, California-based Twitter was committing “social suicide” with the censorship announcement.

Gibbs’ article raised fears of an algorithm incapable of understanding the sarcasm that permeate the 140-character blasts comprising the service’s contents.

That “computer-driven” filtering for the up to 9,000 tweets per second the service produced last year could not possibly take context and tone into consideration.

Whereas Gibbs said the announcement equated to Twitter having “dug their own grave”, Alex Howard, a DC-based correspondent for Radar, a blog about emerging technologies, said “the fact that Twitter says they will transparently show the rest of the world what’s being censored is actually quite interesting, even innovative”.

A departure

Howard, who has little doubt the service will implement the country-specific censorship, said: “I don’t think this system was introduced to be symbolic.”

He says the proposal laid out in the blog post entitled “Tweets still must flow” could be a departure even from a similar practice by the search company, Google.

“Google makes raw data available of government requests for information but not the information itself,” Howard said.

Twitter will probably follow this model while also in the process “highlighting the contents of tweets that governments are seeking to block and even regions it’s happening in”, he said.

Similary, Jillian York, director of international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, does not doubt the proposal amounts to censorship, but says it is the “best middle road” for a company looking to expand globally…

[continues at Al Jazeera]