My initial reaction upon a cursory reading of the announcement was also that it wasn’t too bad, given the alternatives. However I’ve since looked at the policy in more detail and my conclusion is that this isn’t a mediocre but acceptable policy; rather, this is an excellent policy which will be helpful to free-speech advocates.
I often criticize companies on this blog so I want to take a moment to recognize Twitter for a model policy and explain why these should be the kind of practices that I hope other Internet companies follow.
In my opinion, with this policy, Twitter is fighting to protect free speech on Twitter as best it possibly can. (It also fits with its business model so I am not going to argue they are uniquely angelic, but Twitter does have a good track record. Twitter was the only company which first fought the US government to protect user information in the Wikileaks case, and then informed the users when it lost the fight. In fact, Twitter’s transparency is the only reason we even know of this; other companies, it appears, silently caved and complied.)
Twitter’s latest policy is purposefully designed to allow Twitter to exist as a platform as broadly as possible while making it as hard as possible for governments to censor content, either tweet by tweet or more, all the while giving free-speech advocates a lot of tools to fight censorship.
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