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Twitter explains the legal compulsions behind blocking some tweets and accounts

Twitter is also working on improving their use of in-app notifications to alert affected users.

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Users divided for twitter on its increase in character limit
Users divided for twitter on its increase in character limit. wikimedia commons
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  • Twitter has updated its transparency tool
  • This tool is to clarify why content was being withheld
  • Twitter is also working on improving their use of in-app notifications

San Francisco, December 22, 2017: To help the public better understand the scope and scale of government censorship from around the world, Twitter has updated its transparency tool to tell its users the legal compulsions behind blocking of some tweets and accounts on its platform.

“We are updating our in-product messaging when we withhold content to clarify why content was withheld and where,” Jeremy Kessel, Global Legal Policy Director at Twitter wrote in a blog post.

So when a tweet is withheld, users would now know if Twitter was compelled to withhold the original tweet in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

They would also know if Twitter withheld the content to comply with local law(s).

Similar notification will be available for withheld accounts as well.

To shine light on government requests, Twitter launched its “Transparency Report” back in 2012 and later that year, it announced the “Country Withheld Content” (CWC) tool, which the microblogging site uses to transparently handle global legal requests to remove content from Twitter.

“The primary goal of CWC is to avoid silent removals and maximise transparency of the content that we are compelled to remove to comply with local laws, court orders, and other legal demands,” Kessel said.

Twitter achieves this transparency through a combination of efforts. This includes providing direct notice of removal requests to affected users (when not otherwise prohibited), the use of visual indicators within the service, and by publishing the underlying legal demands on Lumen, which serves as a public repository for content removal requests.

One example of CWC is Nazi symbols in Germany, where they are prohibited, Techcrunch reported on Thursday.

Twitter said the latest update is part of its larger efforts to increase transparency across the platform, particularly around decisions that impact its users.

“We are also working on improving our use of in-app notifications to alert affected users when we have received legal requests about their account,” Kessel said.

“Our goal is to help you better understand why you may not be able to view certain types of content as you interact with our service,” he added. (IANS)

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U.S. Library of Congress will not collect every tweet on twitter

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FILE - The Twitter app is seen on a mobile phone in Philadelphia, April 26, 2017
U.S. Library of Congress will not collect every tweet on twitter. VOA

US, Dec 31, 2017: The U.S. Library of Congress says it will no longer collect every single tweet published on Twitter as it has been doing for the past 12 years.

The library said this week that it can no longer collect everything across the entire social media platform because of recent changes Twitter has made, including allowing longer tweets, photos and videos.

It said in a blog post this week that its first objective with collecting and archiving tweets was “to document the emergence of online social media for future generations.” The library says it has fulfilled that objective and no longer needs to be a “comprehensive” collector of tweets.

FILE - In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, the Library of Congress is seen in Washington.
FILE – In this Dec. 19, 2013 file photo, the Library of Congress is seen in Washington. VOA

The Library of Congress said it will still collect and archive tweets in the future, but will do so on a more selective basis. It said going forward “the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”

The library said it generally does not collect media comprehensively, but said it made an exception for public tweets when the social media platform was first developed.

The library said it will keep its previous archive of tweets from 2006-2017 to help people understand the rise of social media and to offer insight into the public mood during that time. “Throughout its history, the Library has seized opportunities to collect snapshots of unique moments in human history and preserve them for future generations,” it said.

“The Twitter Archive may prove to be one of this generation’s most significant legacies to future generations. Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation,” it said. (VOA)

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