In world first, Twitter blocks neo-Nazi account in Germany
Twitter uses new tool to selectively block content for first time
Computerworld - Using its country-specific content-blocking tool for the first time, Twitter has shut down access to a neo-Nazi group's account in Germany.
"Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly & transparently," Alex Macgillivray, Twitter's general counsel, tweeted last night. "We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We're using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany."
Dirk Hensen, a spokesman for Twitter, told The Associated Press on Thursday that the account @hannoverticker has been blocked only in Germany, where its content is considered illegal.
Twitter's content-blocking tool is designed to enable the micro-blogging site to remove illegal content in a particular country, while allowing it to remain available for everyone else.
According to AP, the @hannoverticker account is used by a far-right fringe group -- Besseres Hannover -- which officials from the German state of Lower Saxony banned last month, saying it promotes Nazi ideals in an attempt to undermine Germany's democracy.
Lower Saxony officials sent Twitter a letter, which the site posted, asking the site to "close this account immediately and not to open any substitute accounts for the organisation 'Besseres Hannover.'"
When Twitter announced the country-specific content tool in January, it stressed a commitment to openness. "We strongly believe that the open and free exchange of information has a positive global impact, and that the Tweets must continue to flow."
However, Twitter also noted that many countries, including the U.S., have laws that may apply to tweets and Twitter account content.
"In our continuing effort to make our services available to users everywhere, if we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to reactively withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time," the company wrote.
Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said the country-specific tool is a good one for Twitter to have in its arsenal.
"This kind of thing is going to come up elsewhere," he added. "They need to comply with local laws, and they want to do it without disrupting their global service.... By setting up a country-by-country system, it keeps the limitations of one government from spreading over borders."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is email@example.com.
- Twitter brings the data back in-house with Gnip buy
- Twitter crashed -- again -- on Tuesday
- Twitter's slipping user growth spooks investors
- Get ready to tweet your questions for Twitter's first earnings call
- Super Bowl sets Twitter record, as Volkswagen launches social war room
- Perspective: Twitter's success opens up IPO pipeline
- Update: Twitter goes public at $45 a share
- With IPO cash influx, Twitter could be bigger threat to Facebook
- Ahead of IPO, Twitter shines up multimedia image
- Twitter kicks off pre-IPO investor roadshow
Read more about Social Media in Computerworld's Social Media Topic Center.
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Client Management Tools The client management tool market is maturing and evolving to adapt to consumerization, desktop virtualization, and an ongoing need to improve efficiency.
- Audit Ready and Asset Optimized: The Solid Promise of an Intelligent Software Asset Management Solution In this paper Frost & Sullivan examines the benefits of enterprise-grade Software Asset Management solutions, and how these solutions serve as the convergence...
- Pragmatic Endpoint Management: Empowering an SMB Workforce in the Age of Mobility Lacking the time for proper training and education, SMB administrators often resort to taking shortcuts to keep their environment running.This paper discusses the...
- Gartner Magic Quadrant for Application Security The market for application security testing is changing rapidly. Technology trends, such as mobile applications, advanced Web applications and dynamic languages, are forcing...
- LIVE EVENT: 5/7, The End of Data Protection As We Know It. Introducing a Next Generation Data Protection Architecture. Traditional backup is going away, but where does this leave end-users?
- On-demand webinar: "Mobility Mayhem: Balancing BYOD with Enterprise Security" Check out this on-demand webinar to hear Sophos senior security expert John Shier deep dive into how BYOD impacts your enterprise security strategy... All Social Media White Papers | Webcasts