Twitter uses new policy for first time to block neo-Nazi account

Twitter has censored the account of neo-Nazi group Besseres Hannover in Germany, marking the first time the social media company has used a new policy which lets it block accounts in one country only.

The move comes after a January announcement where Twitter said it had created a new policy, which would allow it to consider requests from government officials to block users accounts in a particular country, while still allowing the tweets to be visible elsewhere.

“We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We’re using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany,” said user @amac, Twitter’s general counsel Alex Macgillivary, in a tweet.

In the interest of full disclosure, Twitter also made public the request from German police, which said that the group in question had been banned in Germany and was under investigation for criminal association.

While the account has been blocked in Germany, the tweets can still be viewed in Canada, and elsewhere.

In January, Twitter’s announcement that it could block users in specific countries drew criticism from those who thought the decision threatened free speech. Many pointed to the Arab Spring uprisings, which were organized largely through Twitter, but could be blocked under the new policy.

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Twitter uses new policy for first time to block neo-Nazi account

  1. Private company chooses policy to assuage government. There’s no free speech argument here. There’s perhaps an argument to choose a different company to provide your 140 character attempts to communicate with anybody who gives a damn, but nothing to do with free speech.

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