Where else is this policy going to take us? In Brazil, they want to ban tweets that alert drivers to speed traps. In South Korea, a young man faces up to seven years in prison for retweeting something coming from the North Koreans -- even though he was simply mocking the North. Is that then Twitter's policy -- to let South Korea dictate whether humor is ok? Where does Twitter see this all ending?
A One-Way Tweet?
We wanted to ask them about all this, so we went to their media inquiry website, and requested an interview.
The site says that they will get back to members of the media "in a few days." Huh! For an instant-communication service, they sure don't take some communications with much urgency. And after we posted our request, we got an email saying:
"Thanks for your inquiry. We are a small communications team based in San Francisco and are quite busy. We'll get back to you if we're able to."
""if we're able to [!]
They may be a "small communications team," but how responsible is that for a giant company that impacts the whole world? Outfits that are serious about fostering accurate information (or just protecting their corporate image) have a decent-sized media team, and are capable of responding quickly.
This raises another question. Why is their "communications team" so small -- can't a company with a valuation of billions of dollars and eager investors spend more on this? Is this a deliberate tactic to stonewall legitimate questions? How else to explain it?
Twitter doesn't seem to have yet begun withholding tweets. So perhaps the announcement is just a trial balloon, to see what kind of public outcry results. So far that seems very muted. Maybe the "limited capacity" of the company to handle press inquiries is no coincidence. In any case, this might be a good moment for those a sustained interest in Internet freedom to let Twitter know -- in a sustained way.