Social network micro-blogging site Twitter has announced that it plans to honor countries' wishes and restrict certain content and topics from being viewed or discussed by members located in those countries.
The move is seen as a dangerous push forward in the attempt to completely control the Internet, the last remaining free media for the world. Officials for the site announced that they will voluntarily restrict Twitter content in specific countries to comply with government limits on what citizens are allowed to read and discuss in an open forum.
"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," the company announced on its official blog site. The change in policy is seen as shocking, especially in view of the importance Twitter played in last year's Egyptian uprising against former president Hosni Mubarak.
Millions of Egyptians used the site to co-ordinate protests, helping to gather enormous crowds of people together in a short amount of time. The Egyptian government quickly put plans into place to shut down the Internet to the Egyptian people, but the idea of revolution had already quickly spread. Other nations in the Middle East were quick to tighten the reigns over the Internet, in a preemptive strike against the forming revolutions in their own countries.
The Twitter blog only specifically mentioned French and German rules outlawing Nazi communications among members, and added that the new restrictive policy has yet to be put into place. The blog stated that some countries' restrictions are so severe that "we will not be able to exist there," meaning potentially millions of users will suddenly find their twitter feeds falling silent. The news is very sobering, in light of the US Congress consideration of the Stop Online Piracy Act, which many condemned as an obvious attempt to take control over the Internet within the United States.