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Can censor tweets if legally required: Twitter

The social media website said, it could reactively withhold content from users in a specific country if needed to do so.

Published: 27th January 2012 02:54 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 06:23 PM   |  A+A-

WASHINGTON: Twitter has announced that it can now selectively censor tweets on a country-by-country basis, a move which may augur well for India which reportedly urged social media websites to remove offensive contents.

In its blog post, titled 'Tweets Must Flow', the San Fransico-based micro-blogging company has said that it could "reactively withhold content from users in a specific country" if legally required to do so.

The proposed move came amid reports of a legal clash between India and global Internet giants, including Google, Yahoo, Twitter and Facebook, over pre-screening user contents and removal of offensive materials from their websites. A Delhi court had last month asked 21 social networking websites to remove derogatory content by February 6 this year.

In its blog, citing France or Germany which ban pro-Nazi content as examples, Twitter said, "As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression." "Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country -- while keeping it available in the rest of the world."

"We haven't yet used this ability, but if and when we are required to withhold a tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld."

However, the micro-blogging service with over 100 million active users, said the removed content would be available to the rest of the world. Earlier when it used to delete a tweet, it would disappear worldwide, media reports said.

Along with social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, which is currently banned in China, is said to have played a pivotal role in uprisings that swept the Middle East region, particularly in countries like Egypt and Tunisia.

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