Twitter CEO: We’re Not Censoring The Web
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo took the stage at AllThingsD‘s media conference in Laguna Nigel, CA, Monday evening to defend the company’s new censorship policies.
Twitter announced last week that it would begin censoring tweets in certain countries to comply with local laws. The move sparked outrage among many users, who gathered under the hashtag #TwitterBlackout and pledged to boycott the service on January 28.
But as Costolo argued on stage — and my colleague Josh Catone pointed out last week — Twitter’s new policies allow for greater freedom of speech on the platform. Previously, when a government demanded that Twitter remove a tweet or block a user, access to that content would be blocked from the entire world. Now, Twitter can hide the tweet or user from that individual country, but allow the rest of the world to see it.
“There’s been no change in our stance or attitude or policy with respect to content on Twitter,” Costolo said. “What we announced is a greater capability we now have. Now, when we are issued a valid legal order in a country in which we operate, such as a DMCA takedown notice, we are able to leave the content up for as many people around the world as possible, while still operating within the local law. You can’t operate in these countries and choose the laws you want to abide by.”
“Is there a way you could work outside the law? Say ‘Iran, we’re not going to censor?’” Kafka suggested.
“We don’t proactively go do anything,” said Costolo. “This is purely a reactive capability to what we determine to be a valid and applicable legal order in a country in which we operate. We’re fully blocked in Iran and China. And I don’t see the current environment in either country being one in which we could go and operate anytime soon.”
“We want to run Twitter as transparently as possible,” Costolo added. This is the actual thoughtful and honest approach to doing this.”
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