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Twitter is now able to censor posts on a country-by-country basis, instead of blocking them across the entire network, stirring concerns over freedom of speech with dissenting users of the service planning a one-day boycott.

The announcement was made yesterday via a post entitled Tweets Still Must Flow on the company’s official blog, where it revealed that it could withhold tweets in specific regions instead of its previous policy of withholding them across the entire network.

“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 have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld and why,” read the post.

The company cited different country’s policies on freedom of experession behind the move, highlighting that in France and Germany it’s not permissable to promote pro-Nazi content whereas it may be elsewhere.

“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,” concluded the post, which stipulated that it has yet to use this ability.

The move was made to accommodate the social network’s rapid expansion, but it has prompted public debate on whether it amounts to a U-turn on Twitter’s earlier hardcore defence of freedom of speech.

Some groups are plotting a day-long boycott of the service tomorrow (28 January) using the #TwitterBlackout hash tag to help spread the protest.

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Published 27 January, 2012 by NMA Staff

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