Balancing free speech and censorship

Twitter suspends 300,000 accounts tied to terrorism in 2017

“Twitter, under pressure from governments around the world to combat online extremism, said that improving automation tools are helping block accounts that promote terrorism and violence.

Twitter-Ban“In the first half of the year, Twitter said it suspended nearly 300,000 accounts globally linked to terrorism. Of those, roughly 95 per cent were identified by the company’s spam-fighting automation tools. Meanwhile, the social network said government data requests continued to increase, and that it provided authorities with data on roughly 3,900 accounts from January to June.

“Twitter, along with Facebook and YouTube, are instead building automation tools that quickly spot troublesome content. Facebook has roughly 7,500 people who screen for troublesome videos and posts.

“It’s also funded groups that produce anti-extremism content that’s circulated on the social network.

“American authorities made 2,111 requests from Twitter from January to June, the most of the 83 countries tracked by the company.

“Twitter supplied information on users in 77 per cent of the inquiries. Japan made 1,384 requests and the UK issued 606 requests. Turkish authorities continued a trend of aggressively policing Twitter, making 554 requests for account data and issuing court orders to remove 715 pieces of content. Other governments made only 38 total content-removal requests.”

Seems the word “aggressive” only applies to Turkey. Wonder what those other governments are doing with the information supplied by Twitter?

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2 thoughts on “Balancing free speech and censorship

  1. No country in the world harbours absolute, 100% free speech. The topic is less simple than it sounds. I agree that everyone is entitled to their own point of view (even if we passionately disagree with them), but the notion that anyone should be able to say anything without consequences is less nice in practice than it sounds in theory. From the classic example of shouting “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, to pornography fetishising abusive relationships or dangerous acts, what you communicate arguably CAN have harmful effects. I also agree that political correctness has gone too far, but as with accounts or published content promoting terrorism, some racist or anti-gay groups, et al, ARE inciting violence against certain demographics in society. Not all speech is equally positive or edifying.

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