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Monday, May 31, 2010

Censorship re Twitter, Yahoo... and Toyota

There are allegations that Twitter censored the tag, #flotilla to impede the avalanche of commentary after word got out re an Israeli raid on a Turkish flotilla carrying aid to Palestinians in Gaza.  Ordinarily, I would discount this in favor of attributing the problem to a glitch.  Unfortunately, however, my experiences with Twitter have not been ordinary.  Best I can tell, evidence of censorship - not only by Twitter, but also by Yahoo and Toyota - is starting to accumulate (see my posts for 4/28, 5/6, and 5/10/2010).

Today's allegations re Twitter are troubling because less popular tags relating to the flotilla incident encountered none of the technical difficulties Twitter apologists say are responsible.  Furthermore, after a tide of microblogs leveled charges of censorship, the #flotilla "glitch" suddenly disappeared.  Kinda like what happened to me when I kept notifying my followers re Twitter's efforts to censor comments I tweeted about Toyota, including tweets re the same sort of censorship by Yahoo.  Last but not least, mainstream media accounts of the raid were obviously questionable.

Censorship should alarm everyone - especially those of us who frequent the Internet.  We now have the potential to reveal the kind of information that government and industry has been able to keep quiet by pressuring traditional media.  This is not the time to hurl unfounded allegations, but it is most certainly a time for vigilance.  For example, I am particularly alarmed re Twitter publishing my tweets via (searching) my account, but not publishing them in real-time results.  This has all the earmarks of a dirty trick, because if I send out comments compaining that the tweet was censored, it appears that I was - at best - mistaken.  Rest assured that I carefully monitor real-time results immediately after I tweet.

Update 6/8/2010 1:19 am - monitored 15 mins. - as outlined above, Twitter again published one of my Toyota tweets under my acct and on my profile page, blocked it from real-time results, and published subsequent complaint tweets in real-time.  Dirty tricks the "Twitter Way."

Censorship issues aside, the flotilla incident is deplorable and heartbreaking.  I join those who condemn the raid.