Some Twitter users say they will stop using the service on Saturday in protest of the company’s new rule that allows for content to be blocked in specific countries.
The policy, announced Thursday, on the company’s blog will enable the company to block specific tweets on a country-by-country basis when the content runs afoul of local laws.
Several global companies, including Google and Facebook, already have similar policies to remove content to comply with individual countries’ laws regarding speech — one of the most commonly cited examples of a law like this is Germany’s prohibition against pro-Nazi content. Critics worry that Twitter’s policy will destroy its capability to work as a platform for impromptu social movements, a role it played so prominently during the Arab Spring.
“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 post read, in part. “We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld, and why.”