First they changed Netflix, and I did not speak because I did not use Netflix. Then they changed Facebook, and I did not speak because I used Google+. Then they changed Twitter, and there was no one left to speak for me because there weren't enough characters.
Yesterday social network service Twitter announced that it has refined its technology to allow for message censoring on a country-by-country basis. Previously, when Twitter was forced to erase a tweet, it disappeared throughout the world, but now the new censorship tool allows for removal of tweets on a country-only basis. That is to say, your lunch update can be banned in Iran, but not the U.S. Also, the company can now block certain tweets as well as individual accounts from specific countries, complying with particular governments' censorship laws. Twitter maintains that it will post a censorship notice whenever a tweet is removed. Some Twitterers are already scheduling a protest, calling on fellow users to silence their tweets on January 28th to demonstrate their opposition to the new plan.
Twitter's new censorship policy is similar to what Google (a company that is currently under fire for its recent consolidation of privacy policies) has been practicing for years. The similarity isn't coincidence — Twitter's general counsel, Alexander Macgillivray, helped Google construct their own censorship policies during his time at the search engine.
In a blog post, Twitter expressed their commitment to, uh, tweets…and sure, I guess truth, justice, free speech, democracy and the American way as well:
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.
Well, I'm not sure if the tweets must continue to flow. While I in no way advocate any type of censorship, I have to admit that I wouldn't be so troubled if Twitter chose to censor half of the tweets coming out of Lynbrook, Long Island. If one more girl from my high-school class tweets something about "my party" being "her pregame," I don't know what I'm going to do.