Ina Fried

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Costolo: Twitter Isn’t Looking to Censor Anyone

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on Monday tried to clarify his company’s position regarding censorship, saying that Twitter will only censor tweets when it is legally required to do so.

The company said last week in a blog post that it is now able to censor tweets by country, igniting something of a firestorm over how it will use that power.

“There’s been no change in our stance or attitude or policy with respect to content on Twitter,” Costolo said, speaking Monday evening at the D: Dive into Media Conference.

What is different, Costolo said, is that now it will only have to block tweets in the country issuing an order, rather than for all users around the world.

“When we receive one of those, we want to leave the content up for as many people as possible while adhering to the local law,” Costolo said.

He added that the policy isn’t really about China or Iran, countries where Twitter is already blocked entirely. Nor does he expect this new capability to allow the company entree into China.

“I don’t think the current environment in China is one in which we could operate,” Costolo said.

Costolo also rejected the idea that Twitter could just ignore certain countries’ laws and still do business there.

“It is simply not the case you can operate in these countries and choose which of the laws we want (to adhere to),” Costolo said.

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