140 Characters – Censored

Twitter censors content from certain countries. ¬†They creatively call this “country withheld content.” So, if you’re from China and want to post a dissenting tweet, Twitter will delete it and post something like this:

withheld-content-520x462

This started in 2012, so I am admittedly a little behind the times (I blame my dissertation).

I bring this up because my students love to claim that Twitter is more free and more fair than other forms of social media. They like to point out something is more “pure” about expressing themselves in 140 characters.

And, while there may be something direct about this compression of expression, this censorship raises questions about the future of social media in protest movements. Is it so far-fetched to think that the Department of Homeland security could decide to target a domestic terror group and censor their tweets?