Twitter has refined its technology so it can censor messages on a country-by-country basis.
The additional flexibility announced on Thursday is likely to raise fears that Twitter’s commitment to free speech may be weakening as the short-messaging company expands into new countries in an attempt to broaden its audience and make more money.
But Twitter sees the censorship tool as a way to ensure individual messages, or tweets, remain available to as many people as possible while it navigates a gauntlet of different laws around the world.
Before, when Twitter erased a tweet it disappeared throughout the world. Now, a tweet containing content breaking a law in one country can be taken down there and still be seen elsewhere.
Twitter will post a censorship notice whenever a tweet is removed. That is similar to what internet search engine Google has been doing for years when a law in a country where its service operates requires a search result to be removed.
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