Popular microblogging service Twitter is facing criticism after announcing it now has the ability to censor posts, or “tweets,” on a country-by-country basis. Media rights group Reporters Without Borders on Friday slammed Twitter's announcement that it could now block tweets from appearing in a specific country as “collaborating with the censors”.
RSF's head of social media, Lucie Morillon, said the organisation was “very concerned about the decision,” which is “bad news for online freedom of expression”.
RSF has written to Twitter Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey voicing deep concern.
Twitter on Thursday announced in a blog post that it now had “the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world”.
The San Francisco-based company said it was entering “countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression”.
Twitter announced this week that, with an eye on global profits, it has decided to begin censoring content prohibited in the various markets in which the company has users. In China, where Twitter has been blocked for more than two years but many users still frequent the site, one heavy Twitter user argues that the decision may not turn out to be a big deal.
Reporters Without Borders (RWB) is a France-based international non-governmental organization that advocates freedom of the press and freedom of information. This organization, which has consultant status at the United Nations. , was founded in 1985, by Robert Ménard, Rony Brauman and the journalist Jean-Claude Guillebaud. Jean-François Julliard has served as Secretary General since 2008. English speakers also commonly refer to the organization by its French name, Reporters Sans Frontières, or its French acronym, RSF. Its head office is in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris. According to its own mission statement, Reporters Without Borders
- "defends journalists and media assistants imprisoned or persecuted for doing their job and exposes the mistreatment and torture of them in many countries.
- fights against censorship and laws that undermine press freedom.
- gives financial aid each year to 300 or so journalists or media outlets in difficulty (to pay for lawyers, medical care and equipment) as well to the families of imprisoned journalists.
- works to improve the safety of journalists, especially those reporting in war zones.”