Twitter announced Thursday that it would begin restricting Tweets in specific countries, renewing questions about how the social media platform will handle issues of free speech as it rapidly expands its global user base.
Until now, Twitter had to remove a Tweet from its global network if it received a takedown request from a government. But the company said in a blog post published Thursday that it now has the ability to selectively block a Tweet from appearing to users in one country.
"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 Twitter blog said. Twitter gave as examples of restrictions it might cooperate with, such as "pro-Nazi content" in France and Germany, where it is banned. It said even with the possibility of such restrictions, Twitter would not be able to coexist with some countries. "Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there," it said.
"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression," Twitter wrote.