Twitter puts location-based tweet blocking tool into effect
18th Oct 2012 | 11:28
Withholds neo-Nazi tweets in Germany
Twitter has used its location-specific tweet blocking tool for the first time, withholding access to a neo-Nazi account in Germany.
The rest of the world can still see the account's 140-character ruminations, but anyone accessing Twitter from Germany will see a message saying "This tweet from @username has been withheld in: Germany."
The Tweet-blocking comes after the German police sent a letter requesting that the account be completely shut down as the country's government has banned the organisation that runs it.
The letter explained, "It is disbanded, its assets are seized and all its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately."
Twitter's general counsel, Alex Macgillivray, tweeted that the company is loathe to out-right remove any tweets.
"Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently," he said, referring to the geographically-minded blocking tool.
The feature caused a fair bit of controversy when Twitter first announced that it would be using it; so much so that a number of users boycotted the site for 24 hours.
At the time, Twitter actually used Germany as an example, saying, "[Some countries], for historical or cultural reasons, restrict certain types of content, such as France or Germany, which ban pro-Nazi content."
But it went on to make it clear that "We will not do any proactive filtering or moderation of content. We will only respond, reactively, to a valid legal request."