Twitter users are being urged to go on strike today in response to the company’s decision to block or remove tweets in specific countries. Previously posts could only be removed globally.
However, this new move has angered freedom of speech and information advocates such as Reporters Without Borders. Twitter Account holders are being asked to not tweet on Saturday in protest.
Jeff Jarvis, a social media commentator, said he could understand why people may be concerned by the new function: “I’m afraid it’s a slippery slope of censorship. I understand why Twitter is doing this, they want to be able to enter into more countries and deal with local laws. But, as Google learned in China, when you become the agent of the censor, there are problems there.”
In Egypt, where Twitter played a big role in coordinating mass protests that eventually led to the revolution last year, demonstrators continue to use the social media as a way of voicing their dissatisfaction with the country’s current military rule.
Twitter user and student Mohamed Gomma said: “I guess what Twitter is going to add to its website is more or less against human rights and shouldn’t be applied to any social media or social broadcast. But I guess what is happening is due to the Middle East, and due to reforms and revolutions everywhere. Not only the United States, but everywhere in the world is afraid of social media.”
Twitter is trying to expand, and according to a blog on the company’s website, this development makes it easier to operate in new countries without falling foul of local laws, such as the ban on pro-Nazi posts in Germany and France.