*Disclaimer: grammatical and content changes made*
Where do we draw the line on the idea of freedom of speech on social media? Where is the point where we have gone to far? I imagine lines are drawn when published web content rallies and promotes negative ideas and assumptions about others. This content doesn’t uplift the group, but degrades their character.
I make this point to bring up the history of Nazi Germany and how residue of this upsetting time still exists through the Neo-Nazi movement in Germany. Many of these young and old radicals hold the beliefs that destroyed so many lives and brought the end to innocent individuals. Why would these individuals want to revive the cruel social and political ideology that promoted racism, extreme nationalism, homophobia, and anti-Semitism? I have no idea, but I do know the Neo-Nazis moved to a modern approach of spreading their views by the way of social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook, and personal blogs.
But, one brave social media outlet took the stand against a Neo-Nazi organization for the first time in history. There is always a first time for everything, and today (October 18th) happens to mark the first time Twitter decided to enforce a policy they put in place back in January to shut down any microblogging account that goes against the laws of the country they reside—when it comes to publishing online material. (Source: Spiegel de International)
We announced the ability to withhold content back in Jan. We’re using it now for the first time against a group deemed illegal in Germany, says Alex Macgilliray.
Twitter calls this policy the country withheld content:
Many countries, including the United States, have laws that may apply to Tweets and/or Twitter account content. In our continuing effort to make our services available to users everywhere, if we receive a valid and properly scoped request from an authorized entity, it may be necessary to reactively withhold access to certain content in a particular country from time to time.
Twitter made the right decision (in my opinion) to take down the @Hannoverticker account after Germany police of the Lower Saxony requested for the site to be taken down. Earlier in the year, Germany officials banned the Neo-Nazi organization, but they continued to communicate their ideas via social media. Chilling Effects is a microblogging service that has the capability to taken down US-based site’ content, and removed the @Hannoverticker account from Twitter.
In American, some would look this at as citizen rights infringed upon. Because Germany’s laws on freedom of speech is different then the U.S., Nazi symbols, support, and slogans is criminally prosecuted.
Twitter only decided to ban access to the twitter page only in Germany and not the United States. Of course I had to see for myself. The Neo-Nazi group has 500 followers and 1,011 tweets. 1,011 tweets might seem like a lot, but as a person who has over 15,000 tweets, this seems minor. The follower number is not enough to be an influential account on Twitter. I believe the incident of shutting down their Twitter account will bring more followers and attention to their page from U.S. Twitter followers. And to check if my theory was right I went back to visit the page and here is what I found. There was an increase people following the @Hannoverticker account page by the end the day.
The situation is viral and received buzz from bloggers all around the world. They all hold different opinions on the removal of the Twitter account:
Hasan Mir made an interesting comment on Twitter in response to a New York Times article about @Hannoverticker account should not be shutdown. He is right that banning access will not solve the issue completely, but I believe this is definitely a place to start a chain reaction.
I honestly believe they should also consider banning the page from U.S. viewership, because in any country or language the Neo-Nazi message is offensive. Where do you stand on this issue? Should the page be taken down for good? Should they ever took precaution to the page in Germany and restricted it? I would love to here your comments.