The internet, social media and the question of censorship

Twitter has long been a passionate defender of free online speech and has routinely fought hard against internet censorship and government requests to remove content from its site.

But earlier this week, Twitter did just that.

The company censored a controversial account run by neo Nazis at the request of local government. The ban was the first of its kind under a relatively new Twitter policy that gives the company “the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world.” As a result, the ban is only effective in Germany. The rest of the world is free to follow the account if they wish to.

Regardless of the account and the content in question, was Twitter right to succumb to the local government’s request for censorship and does this set a bad precedent for censorship of the internet and social media in particular?

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