Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) is facing criticism for complying with Russian and Pakistani government requests. The Electronic Frontier Foundation said yesterday that the microblogging service has “stepped down from the free speech party” by censoring itself in Pakistan and Russia. The EFF defended Twitter in 2012 when the company said it will remove content on a country-by-country basis rather than taking it down across the entire network.
Twitter gives in to repressive governments
That was a sensible decision because when the company doesn’t comply with the official requests, the government often blocks the entire platform, like Turkey did in March. But Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) had also stated at the time that it would do so only when it received a court order in a nation where it has “significant assets or employees.” In the case of Pakistan and Russia, the company doesn’t have significant local presence to justify court orders as meaningful, notes EFF.
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Therefore, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, says the censorship in Pakistan and Russia is unreasonable. Earlier this week, twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) blocked a pro-Ukranian account for its Russian users after the country’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor sent a court order. In Pakistan, the San Francisco-based company honored all five requests put forth by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA). The Pakistani authority has asked Twitter to censor tweets and accounts that were “blasphemous” or “unethical.”
Twitter must stand up for free speech
EFF says independent media in Russia is increasingly under attack. If Twitter can’t stand up for political speech, what will it stand for? The microblogging site is a preferred platform to spread word about latest events and political developments. It’s a platform where news of earthquake go viral even before the U.S. Geological Survey’s underground sensors detect it. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) has helped a lot of protesters unite and fight for their cause. So, the company’s move to crack down on its users at the request of repressive governments raises alarms.
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) shares inched up 0.10% to $31.55 in pre-market trading Friday.