Monday, January 30, 2012

Twitter Boycott Planned To Protest Twitter's Censorship Plan

In think fairly short article from The Huffington Post author Bianca Bosker describes the unrest of twitterers to a new policy held by the company that would be able to censor tweets on a country to country basis.

Twitter went crazy on Saturday because of this, with people from all over the world using the social network against itself. Twitter seems to be a safe haven for free speech (or so we thought), igniting the Arab Spring and collecting people to "occupy" many cities around the world. 

I guess this falls back into the SOPA and PIPA argument but what is interesting here is that the company is actually deciding to do this. What is the difference between a state making companies censor their content and a company taking independent action to censor their content? If more companies were to do this would SOPA and PIPA lose their impact anyway? Will you still use Twitter even though this censorship is happening?


  1. I believe 99.9 percent of Twitter users will forget about this within a week. I do not believe this is a big deal because it isn't something Twitter is going to use. This is a simple terms of use update that happens very often with web companies.

    As far as the construction of the article, I would have liked to see more from Twitter and what the company intends to do with this new ability to block tweets from a country. It would also be interesting to see the history of other social media websites doing similar acts of censorship.

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  3. I use twitter every day and I didn't hear very much about this on the 27th. The article stated, "They are using the hashtag #TwitterBlackout to organize the boycott, and tweets tagged with the hashtag are rolling in at a clip of about 12 per minute." 12 Per minute is not very many in comparison to other major events such as the super bowl.

    I agree with Alex, I don't see this becoming a major issue and people will forget about it soon. The article was short and most of the information was not essential. I would have liked more quotes from Twitter and from anyone in a higher standing about this issue.

  4. I thought that this article would be a lot more newsworthy if it had real expert sources on the subject, instead of just stating the obvious that people tweeted about boycotting Twitter on the 28th. I thought it was unnecessarily short without any really new information. Especially since this is the first time I've heard about this blackout and I'm on Twitter every day, I don't think this will be that big of a deal, since it clearly didn't gain the attention of the Wikipedia and Google protest to SOPA and PIPA.

    However, I think there is something to be said for private companies using censorship rather than the government, because it's not a common issue and I would bet that a lot of people, including myself, don't know where they would stand on it. Clearly every company has the right to censor but I think when they have reached the scale of something like Twitter I think they have an obligation to their users to keep it open and free without the fear of their accounts being deleted. With that being said, however, I don't think it would be that big of a deal to make a new account if yours got deleted and I don't think that Twitter will really end up using their powers of censorship very often.

  5. I agree with Alex and Annie in that I would have liked to see more to this story. Information from twitter might be useful to the reader. Does this topic really relate to SOPA and PIPA other than being an online protest? The article brought it up but I could not make the connection. I do not know very much about either topics but if they do not relate then the writer just made the story a bit more confusing to a reader who is unfamiliar with either topics.

    This article just needed more, I was left with too many unanswered questions. Our generation uses twitter in many powerful ways, so the potential for this article is there.. they just didn't quite achieve it.

    On the censorship part of it, in our eyes it may not seem like such a huge deal because we do not deal with censorship on a daily basis. Twitter users in other countries that have a free medium for free speech this could be a large problem. Their medium for free speech can now be censored by twitter to fit in with their countries laws.

  6. I do not have a twitter, but I do like reading articles that concern social media. I wish this article could have been a tad longer. I agree that it left the reader with too many unanswered questions, and I think the articles needed to provide more information on the subject. Since Twitter is a very popular social media outlet for people to use, this story does have some importance, but didn't seem entirely newsworthy.

    I honestly didn't hear about the Twitter Blackout. The majority of my friends use Twitter, and mentioned nothing about it. Obviously, it didn't seem very important to them.

    I would have liked to know why Twitter now decided to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis. Why did they come up with this new ability?

  7. I agree with everyone above that this does not seem like a major issue. I didn't even notice that there was a twitter blackout going on. I also agree with Katie in her comment that 12 per minute is not a very high number compared to a lot of trending topics.

    This article was, I think, too short. It left me with a lot of unanswered questions. I would have appreciated a few more quotes from twitter. I also didn't really see the point of the slide show at the bottom of the page. I thought that the quoting of two tweets was enough. It just didn't add anything to the story.

    A thought that came to me as I was reading is that maybe twitter is applying this censorship to meet the government half way on the issues of SOPA and PIPA. As it discussed in out last article, both sides wanted to make a compromise. Maybe this is the beginning of just that.

  8. Sort of piggy-backing off everyone else's comment, I don't think Twitter has very much to worry about considering the blackout hash tags that trended the other day are only newsworthy when it happened the other day. The censorship towards other countries is different and in my opinion not that vital for the social media platform, but it definitely didn't affect audiences as much as the SOPA or PIPA debacle did.

    A state making censorship happen with their companies is a lot more significant than a company taking independent action to censor their content. For the company to take action on slip ups that happened under their supervision is their own problem and probably happens every day to numerous countries around the globe. A state making a consensus action that could possibly impact more than one company is a whole other issue needed to be handled with extreme caution.

  9. I think this is a newsworthy article due to the attention SOPA and PIPA have been receiving. However, I actually think censorship of Twitter could be somewhat of a good thing, depending on what is being censored. In the last two weeks, there were trending topics for RIP Joe Paterno (the day before he actually died), RIP Cher, RIP Demi Moore, and RIP Adele. These were all circumstances where I think Twitter SHOULD step in and set the record straight, because this created a lot of panic and drama on the website. I definitely think it is a different situation for Twitter to regulate tweets than for the government to complete censor the internet in general, and in this situation it could be beneficial.

    Overall, I don't think this will cause a huge issue for twitter users. I don't see anything major happening within the company to censor the site completely, although regulating a few things could be good for the site.

    I liked the topic of this article. I agree with other comments in the fact I would've liked to hear more from the company about the issue.

  10. Just like others have said, I use twitter frequently everyday and I never heard anything about this until now. I'm not even sure it was a Trending Topic on the 28th.

    To me this isn't a very big deal, because what can people possibility be tweeting that would give Twitter the reason to block them. If they are tweeting negative comments or what not, they don't deserve to be tweeting.

    This PIPA, SOPA, censoring stuff is all going on because people like to push people till they can't be pushed anymore. Censor yourselves and there is no need for all of this to be going on.

  11. This article reminded me of internet censorship in China. The story was vague on how the government could censor the tweets, but this new policy plus SOPA and PIPA make me think that society is inching closer to having "Big Brother" review our every move. Although the blackout wasn't a big deal in the US, it might have been for countries that have more restrictions.

    The author's use of quotes was ridiculous. It seemed like she looked up the first tweet about the blackout to use. The story would have been more legitimate if they got a quote from someone of fame or power.

  12. For some reason, I really enjoy reading pieces about social media. I am an avid Twitter user, and i had not heard about this until now. I think the article is very newsworthy and that many people would be interested in it.

    I agree that quotations were not correctly used at all. They should have been from someone more relevant to the story. It would have definitely been nice to hear from the company.

    I agree with Kailey that this will probably not change much for Twitter users. However, I still enjoyed reading the piece because the topic was news to me.

  13. I thought this article was fascinating. It goes along with all the SOPA/PIPA controversy. Unlike many others, I am not as quick to jump on this bandwagon. The primary reason is that I have not heard the government's concerns as to why they feel these acts are necessary. It is so easy to hear one side of the story (usually the popular side) and make decisions as if you are completely informed. Personally, I'm treating this controversy as I do politics; if I don't know both sides of the argument then I won't presume to make a conclusion.

    I thought the individual examples of tweets were interesting. It seemed as if they randomly chose people with foreign names simply to emphasize the global action surrounding the blackout. As far as writing is concerned, I didn't notice many mistakes, yet I wasn't blown away by the article construction or overall message

  14. The article here gave you a summary of what is going on. I felt that it was a number of pieces summed up in one short story. It didn't seem like a news article to me. As someone else stated, the piece would have been better if there were expert sources given in the article.

    Although it was a very basic piece it was easy to follow and the writer got the point across. After the end of the article, there was a slide show of examples. I thought that was a brilliant idea. It gave you examples from across the world who has hash tagged twitterblackout. This is going on a whim, but I think many of us here have not heard of this yet because we are living in the United States. In the U.S much of our information in not censored. In other countries, censoring information has been going on for years. The article points out that people are writing this in arabic and I think that this effects them more than us because where they are in the world.

    I myself have a twitter account but I don't even remember my password to log into it. I wasn't aware of the situation but I disagree with the decision Twitter is acting upon. This is following the footsteps of SOPA and PIPA where citizens would not be able to express their freedom of speech. If this does end up happening to Twitter, I could see many users giving up their account.

  15. Considering this is something I've never heard of--and I'm pretty up to date on Internet trends, having wasted hours and hours on reddit and similar sites--I don't see this as a huge deal. If anything, it seems that the supposed twitter boycott is just a call for attention--and a needless one, at that. Twitter has always had the ability to censor certain posts. Now, however, they will be able to do this on a region by region basis. This can seem like something to take worry of--for instance, if people in America are hating on French people, they could just censor these tweets from the French, essentially eliminating an entire nation of descent. But I honestly am not worried about that happening.

    More to the point, this is actually less censoring than what was going on before. Say, for instance, that a person is hating on Muslims. These tweets--if they meet the standards of being so offensive and pointless that they warrant being blocked--will now only be blocked in areas that are seen as being the offended. So a Muslim nation will not see them, but everyone else will. It will not totally eliminate their voice, just section it off.

    I'm new to Twitter, and really am not a huge fan. I like the news stuff--like getting the headlines whenever I want--and the interesting stuff random experts post, as well as comedians who are funny. I just feel strange posting about my everyday life to people, as if they actually cared. So, no, I don't think this new change in their censorship policy will change my Twitter activity. I've only tweeted three times anyway

  16. I agree with everyone that not too many people will remember this after a week or so. I know I was on Twitter that day and I don't remember seeing or hearing anything about this protest at all.
    I do however agree with the people that are trying to stop this because Twitter became big because of its ability to give its members free speech and if governments can censor their countries tweets, whats stopping China or any country in the Arab Spring region from stopping protesters from organizing and trying to fight for what it right? Bad move by Twitter in my opinion.