Twitter says it has added the capability to filter tweets on a geographical basis in a bid to stave off legal challenges from officials in some countries.
Twitter had previously been unable to censor tweets in one country while allowing the information to flow elsewhere, a situation which led to a UK judge last year adding Twitter to a list of media prohibited from breaching injunctions.
”As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression,” the company announced in a blog post.
“Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there. Others are similar but, for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content.”
The move will raise fears that Twitter will block content and scupper freedom of expression as it expands into less open countries, but the company said the move was a positive one, as it could keep content available elsewhere.
Twitter said it had yet to use the facility, and didn’t outline under what circumstance it would put the regional blocks in place, but insisted users looking for blocked information would be told why it had been barred.
“Starting today, we give ourselves the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world,” the company said.
”If and when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld. We try to keep content up wherever and whenever we can."
This article originally appeared at pcpro.co.uk