Linked by Eugenia Loli on Mon 6th Dec 2010 00:24 UTC
Legal I'm (was?) a Twitter user. This past week I found it utterly weird that none of the words #wikileaks, #cablegate, #cables, #Assange were actually "trending". I even tweeted about this 5 days ago. Today, my fears of secret censorship seem to be coming true. It appears that Twitter is censoring all these words, so they don't appear in the (much-used) Twitter "trends" list. Update 1: A Twitter staffer replied to the blog post saying that their trending algorithm doesn't always result to the most popular terms. Update 2: More investigation about what might be going on.
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"Freedom of the press" isn't applicable here: Twitter, even if it IS considered a news organization, has absolutely no connection between "freedom of the press" and allowing those using their system to post in any way, shape or form that they may deem undesired according to their judgment. For that matter, all news organizations pick and choose what they publish in whatever forms they publish, if that means they only do purely provable factual stuff, or purely rumors and gossip type of stuff: they don't publish everything, as that'd be failure to address whatever markets they want to fulfill. Ultimately, unless a service is purely a set of pipes and has zero control over what goes through their system (say, a mobile phone company) and that's what's in their Terms of Service, they are their own entity, and are not the press, or at least have zero responsibility to allow their systems to send out data they don't want people to see, and the government has nothing to do with it. Hey, even the "news" people have their own agendas: look at Fox News! :p

Twitter is not preventing people from talking about/publishing their ideas in any way that qualifies as a freedom of speech/freedom of the press issue: they are just not wanting stuff on their systems that they aren't wanting, as is their right. Come on, would Twitter want to become known as the biggest purveyor of porn and avenues of child trafficking? What about illegal drug trade? Heck, what about religious points of view they don't agree with, perhaps Satanism? There's potentially lots of topics they'd rather not have on their service, for whatever reasons those are. If you don't like it that they disallow certain things, nothing stops you from starting your own service, except perhaps you don't have the financial means to do so ;) Then, once you've done that, are you seriously going to tell me you'll allow every single thing on there? Seriously???

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