Twitter has announced that it now has the ability to censor messages on its network on a country by country basis.

In a post on the official company blog, Twitter has announced that it now has the ability to censor tweets – the name for the messages sent on the microblogging service – on a country-by-country basis.  So, this is to say if you were to post something negative about the leader of Seanlandia, where negative comments about their leader are illegal, people in the United States could still see it, but users with accounts in that country would not.  (Although why you would ever say anything negative about the leader of Seanlandia is beyond me …)

In the past the only way Twitter could comply with the laws of different countries in regard to content was to remove a tweet globally.  Under the new system the company will only need to remove it in the country where the law exists, and if they do so, they plan to let the user know how and why it happened.  To this end, the company stated:

… if and when we are required to withhold a Tweet in a specific country, we will attempt to let the user know, and we will clearly mark when the content has been withheld.

Following up on this idea, Twitter has also established a page at where users can lodge complaints about missing tweets and keep it transparent and open for anyone else to see.

While we aren't fans of censorship at TechnoBuffalo, it is an unfortunate reality of doing business on a global scale, especially when your business is that of letting people express their opinions.  The company says they will only do this when a recognized authority requests for a tweet to be blocked, but we'll have to wait to see it in action to see exactly how it will work, and if it will be effective.

What do you think about Twitter's new blocking system?

[via Twitter Blog]