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[liberationtech] Where can I find the Twitter censorship handbook?

Julian Oliver julian at
Mon Dec 17 03:11:58 PST 2012

..on Sun, Dec 16, 2012 at 01:22:07AM +0700, Uncle Zzzen wrote:
> >
> > Even if Twitter did 'censor' tweets/accounts etc, we can hardly get all
> > that
> > upset about it (although it should be in the TOS).
> >
> We CAN and SHOULD get upset, if not about the censorship, but on the lack
> of transparency.
> We need to at least have indication that a tweet was banned (or banned in
> some countries - it's important, because I live in one :) ).
> This has nothing to do with what's "right" or "moral". It's a "consumer"
> issue: this service is unpredictable.
> For example - Jillian has offered the theory that the "N-word tweets" were
> blocked by the recipient (not what happened in this case), but why should
> this be theory and not fact? We're talking about relationships between
> people.
> When I @mention someone, I shouldn't need to guess whether:
> a. They've read my tweet, got offended and blocked me
> b. Never read my tweet because twitter has "protected" them from it
> Especially if it's a fan-to-celeb tweet (luckily, I'm no teenager).
> This is not only a feature request. It's a bug report. Twitter is broken
> until it's fixed.
> BTW, sometimes the lack of transparency is due to policy and not
> technology: when they closed down @AnonOpsSweden (twice), twitter (people,
> not machines) didn't say why. If twitter believes this is acceptable, maybe
> they don't WANT to invest in features that inform me about their [non]
> censorship decisions.
> It's their right (although it would only be fair to add "we might take you
> down for reasons we can't discuss with you" to the TOS), but let the
> consumer be very afraid.

I agree, they'd be a much better service if they were transparent about why and
on what basis they censor. It's perhaps something we should ask for, as a
petition, from the Directors of this company. 

As it stands, their TOS states quite clearly they reserve the right to refuse
distribution of 'Content' (tweets) and to "suspend or terminate users" without
any obligation or liability:


We reserve the right at all times (but will not have an obligation) to remove or
refuse to distribute any Content on the Services, to suspend or terminate users,
and to reclaim usernames without liability to you. We also reserve the right to
access, read, preserve, and disclose any information as we reasonably believe is
necessary to (i) satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or
governmental request, (ii) enforce the Terms, including investigation of
potential violations hereof, (iii) detect, prevent, or otherwise address fraud,
security or technical issues, (iv) respond to user support requests, or (v)
protect the rights, property or safety of Twitter, its users and the public.


By 'satisfy any applicable law' they point to the vastly broad 'Unlawful Use'
in 'Content Boundaries and Use of Twitter':

>From what I can read their TOS is quite similar to those governing use of the
comment system on the websites of news corporations.


Julian Oliver

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