The first amendment? Not necessarily on Twitter. Recent news of Twitter censorship is creating a buzz in cyberspace, and rightfully so. The company has a new policy surrounding tweets which other governments find questionable. They have established functionality that allows them to remove your tweet in the specific country that objects, while leaving it visible to everyone else.
Yes, you heard that right. Twitter will now be censoring tweets on a country-specific basis now. If Germany doesn't like what you have to say, you'll get a nice (or not-so-nice) message from Twitter telling you that they have decided to censor you. At least in Germany, or France, or any other country in which your words violate their laws.
Back in 2011, Twitter released a blog post titled "The Tweets Must Flow" that stressed how important freedom of speech is. It illustrated how the company wanted to focus on letting everyone have their say, regardless of who agreed with it. The company policy as it read in that post was to only remove content that violates their terms of service. The goal was always to let people say what they will. Until this week, when it came to Twitter censorship was not a leading concern.
Not so much anymore. The new corporate blog post released on January 26, titled "Tweets Still Must Flow," illustrates the new policy. The new standards include an expanded partnership with ChillingEffects.org, creating a page where notices will appear when they decide to wave the censorship flag and remove your thoughts from cyberspace.
With the media storm around the internet regulation and copyright enforcement bills in Congress, the sudden raid and FBI takeover of a major file-sharing service, this recent news seems like another step in what has become the slow trickle of our rights simply fading away. Only time will tell what the true impact is of this new policy, but for those who fear the worst, we can all hope otherwise.