Categories: SecurityWorkspace

Twitter Censors Neo-Nazis in Germany, But Tweets Are Still Visible

Twitter has blocked access to a neo-Nazi account to users in Germany, but it continues to be viewable to web users around the world. [Update: Since this story was published, Twitter is now censoring anti-Semitic tweets in France].

The German move is the first time that Twitter has exercised its ability to block content on a country-by-country basis, a feature which it announced in January.

Twitter general counsel Alex Macgillivray announced the block in a tweet on the microblogging site, along with a link to the request from the Hannover police.

Twitter Censors Target Neo-Nazis

An unrelated cartoon by Nozzman

“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,” he wrote. “Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly & transparently.”

The group in question is Besseres Hannover (Better Hannover), members of which have been charged with inciting racial hatred and the creation of a criminal organisation.

“[Besseres Hannover] is disbanded, its assets are seized and all its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately,” said the police. “It is the task of the Polizeidirektion Hannover (Hannover Police) to enforce the ban.

“I ask you to close this account immediately and not to open any substitute accounts for the organisation ‘Besseres Hannover’.”

When announcing the feature, Twitter said it needed to censor tweets in order to continue its international expansion. The site is routinely blocked in a number of countries such as China and the announcement sparked protests from those who believed it was against freedom of speech.

However the company renewed its commitment “to defend and respect each user’s voice” and declared “The Tweets must continue to flow.”

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Steve McCaskill

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

View Comments

  • More denial of free speech.
    The ongoing genocide of the white race is continuing at a rapid pace, and the most important thing those who are destroying our countries can do is stop us from even TALKING about it.
    If it isn't happening, why are they afraid of people talking about it? "Race hate" indeed. Who owns the media, the banks, the TV, the film industry, the college campuses? Who can you never criticise, or go to JAIL?

  • Good for twitter, stop those lazy neo-nazis who have nothing better to do in life rather than living off German benefits.

    • So let me get this straight... your name is Freedom Fighter but you are applauding censorship by a company who lets celebrities speak their "mind" (Hard to type that word in relationship to them).

      Why censor anyone? Just let a rating system vote them down and people can set their own threshhold on what to see?

      If people want to be idiots, let them.. it helps you know who you are dealing with.

      Hiding their speech doesn't make it go away...

      In the end though, it's their business and they can do what they want with it... but all decisions have consequences and when they censor you next time for something else... don't complain...

  • While I do not condone racism, I do uphold freedom of speech.
    I may not agree to what they say, especially when there is proof to the contrary about what they say, but if they do say something unpopular but true, it should not be censored...
    And the swastika may be banned, but, the people in power still use their power to exert their will on the general population.
    national socialism is alive and well, just hidden behind a new banner.

  • "The ongoing genocide of the white race is continuing at a rapid pace"......the crazy, it burns. You also forgot to mention that "they" also own the supermarket chain near my house. 4.99 for a gallon of milk? The Rothschilds and the Illuminati are obviously responsible.

  • Stories like this make me wonder why we can't have a clear, undeniable definition as to what should and shouldn't be censored so those who are in the right can say whatever they want without fear of reprisal while at the same time, those who are truly in the wrong can't promote their point of view.

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