This week Twitter announced a shift toward censorship. The social media outlet, which was instrumental in the recent uprisings in the Middle East and for providing rare opportunities for open communication in parts of Asia and South America, will now consider blocking replies and banning users who don’t provide the site with sufficient personal information such as a picture, bio and even followers.

Where would we be without this? Pic: Ryan Fitzgerald/Twitter

In a statement released by Twitter yesterday the company explained its decision was based on differing perspectives globally, ‘as we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression’.

However, this caused public uproar particularly by those from countries where governments don’t acknowledge rights to freedom of speech.

Aljazeera reported that Arabic-language content was the fastest-growing segment on Twitter and users in the Arab world began to react to the censorship immediately.

In fact the hash tag #TwitterBlackout pushes for a boycott of Twitter this Saturday, with the hash tag #TwitterCensored stream in Saudi Arabia being deemed the closest thing to a Saudi free speech demonstration by Middle Eastern Journalists.

Meanwhile in China, a government report released last week indicated that over half of the country’s 500 million internet users are on a social network, despite many outlets including Twitter being blocked, freedom of speech activists like Ai Weiwei reportedly tweeted in response to the news: “If Twitter censors, I’ll stop tweeting.”

Needless to say, issues regarding freedom of speech and government intervention in social media are not as prevalent in Australia. Twitter has a lot to answer for regarding how far this will go here. In the meantime, Australians will continue to take to Twitter to ridicule the Federal Government as in the instance where federal ministers used the inane hashtag “cash for you” to promote the School Kids Bonus.

We will also continue to turn the spotlight on attention seeking celebrity sport stars like Stephanie Rice who sees it as perfectly appropriate to tweet a picture of herself in a bikini, or Carlton’s Brock McLean the latest AFL player who tweeted a derogatory comment about a Twitter follower’s mum.

Let’s not forget Australia’s latest reality show star Lara Bingle who is not best known for her intellectual comments who posted a picture of two impoverished Indigenous children smoking with the text “Poverty-stricken but still cool as f—-”.

In the midst of recent debates of media ownership, the emergence of Twitter censorship illuminates how fortunate Australians are with opinions and views being voiced without restriction. Although we’d be tempted to ask to Twitter to censor the tweets of some of our Australian ‘celebrities,’ it’s comforting to know that at the cost of providing a legitimate bio we can continue to be heard even as we tweet in response to frivolous matters.

Sadly, for others living abroad providing a legitimate bio may result in political persecution, especially when views tweeted are not reflective of a certain government’s agendas. Perhaps it’s up to us to take to Twitter to call for equality worldwide? Or perhaps we find it more fun to continue tweeting about how uneducated Lara Bingle is?

It’s your call… I mean tweet.

Most commented

27 comments

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    • Dieter Moeckel says:

      01:28pm | 01/07/12

      When people start to show women without coverage neck to knee then we desperately need decency and censorship

    • allan.kemp says:

      04:22pm | 30/06/12

      Noo Twitter, don’t.

    • alistair BURCH says:

      08:09am | 30/06/12

      We should have FREEtwitter and CENSORtwitter and then see how each evolve. Problem solved.

    • Song says:

      11:58pm | 29/06/12

      Social media is stupid. that is all.

    • M says:

      07:48am | 02/07/12

      The punch is a form of social media, and you’re commenting on it…

    • Jeff says:

      11:57pm | 29/06/12

      How did the guy find the same swimmers??? lmao.

    • Alex says:

      11:55pm | 29/06/12

      I think Twitter should encourage more users. The censorship is not right. Stephanie Rice meh

    • stephen says:

      10:22pm | 29/06/12

      Isn’t Steph. the girl who bagged gays then went on telly to cry and beg for her place in the sun as she wanted to save her career ?

      ps   if she loses in London, I will want my money back.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      08:34pm | 29/06/12

      If twitter helps Stephanie post pictures of herself in a bikini then it must be a force for great good in the world - real great good. And yes there should be a lot more of it. What sour puss could possibly object?

    • Utopia Boy says:

      05:44pm | 29/06/12

      I like seeing celebrities making dickheads of themselves.
      Every so often you get a gem like Stephanie Rice posting.

      Carry on morons.

    • MarkF says:

      05:32pm | 29/06/12

      Mmmm I’ll have the one on the right.

    • Emma says:

      04:43pm | 29/06/12

      Hi Shane from Melbourne they person on the left is male as captioned- Ryan Fitzgerald used to be on big brother - that should be censored !!

    • Nathan says:

      04:25pm | 29/06/12

      “banning users who don’t provide the site with sufficient personal information such as a picture, bio and even followers”

      That seems more like a response to spammer accounts then an act of censorship.

    • Shane From Melbourne says:

      04:12pm | 29/06/12

      Is it my imagination or does the person on the left in the photo look like a male?

    • Alicia says:

      10:31am | 30/06/12

      It’s that radio dude who was on Big Brother years ago. Ryan Fitzgerald. I don’t get the big deal about Rice’s twitter pic - she is a swimmer, and bikinis are seen in public! They are ok with her posing in her underwear as an ambassador but not posting her new bikini (which looks great on her, I must say). Idjits.

    • Alfie says:

      10:41pm | 29/06/12

      Geez Shane if you can’t see that’s a dude, you should avoid Kings X.

    • Inky says:

      04:49pm | 29/06/12

      I think they are, yes. I’m guessing they did up a parody of the original.

    • Inky says:

      03:40pm | 29/06/12

      Geez, and yet no one writes a story about my continued boycott of Twitter.

      I guess the cause of “What a stupid waste of time that thing is” just isn’t media worthy.

    • theTZAR says:

      03:29pm | 29/06/12

      Censoring people is like a waste of time and effort. This is another example of how the majority has to suffer for actions of the minority. When will we learn.. Oh and Twitter management sensor this: Frog you mother Frogers!!!! theTZAR has spoken tzr.com.au

    • nelson says:

      03:27pm | 29/06/12

      why would anyone care that stephanie rice posts a pic of herself in a bikini?
      im not a fan of hers, but… she does like the water, let her show off her new bikini if she wants. no thinking person cares. it doesnt make the world any better or worse. just another meaningless picture on the web. anyone that finds this worth commenting on is either jelous of her body or needs a life. shes an attention seeking idiot. let her be that idiot and scroll down your twitter feed one knotch and you will find she is no longer invading your precious screen.
      if people did their own censoring. the world would be a better place. dont like a pic on your screen? take it off your screen rather than have censorship from the top down. this imposes free speech.

    • Bee says:

      04:52pm | 29/06/12

      I’m glad you’re above commenting on this picture, nelson

    • NigelC says:

      03:19pm | 29/06/12

      Oh my God! An Olympic swimmer in ... swimmers. Won’t someone think of the children!

    • Swingdog says:

      03:08pm | 29/06/12

      All I know is I’m going to start following Stephanie Rice.

    • iain f says:

      03:51pm | 29/06/12

      me too she can post as many photos as she likes, what a bod!

    • italy 2 germany 1 says:

      03:07pm | 29/06/12

      to be a twit , use twitter.
      to be faceless, use facebook

    • renold says:

      03:02pm | 29/06/12

      Twitters are freedom fighters, always thought these well known celebrity twitters are nothing more than a bunch of insecure nutters who believe that anyone actually cares what they say or look like.

      So I completely missed the point, they are freedom fighters

      The Democratic Popular Liberation Front for people who had their dummy taken away to early

    • Wayne says:

      03:01pm | 29/06/12

      “If Twitter censors, I’ll stop tweeting.”

      Best news I have heard all week…

 

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