Twitter’s Biz Stone says that one day, the company might have to deal with China regarding its policy on censorship. That doesn’t mean the company is ready to take action just yet, though.
Along with LinkedIn, Facebook and other web services, Twitter is just one of many websites blocked to the Chinese populace through what’s known as the Great Firewall. In fact, it’s been blocked since 2009 following some riots in the country. Access has remained down since.
Stone mentioned during CTIA that, “Our philosophy is that open exchange of information can have a positive global impact, and that’s not China’s philosophy… we’re not going to be able to ignore it forever.”
According the Twitter co-founder, the company is still trying to figure out a way to deal with the censorship issues. Among some of its efforts include studying the guidelines that the Global Network Initiative, a thinktank concerned with government censorship, has put forth.
Given the way Twitter has been said to play a role in recent Middle East movements, and China’s own concern over protest security within their country, it’s probably a fair bet to say Twitter won’t be let back in the Chinese fold anytime soon. Not to mention, China has its own version of microblogging sites set throughout the country that are growing in popularity.
Interestingly enough, Stone dismissed the idea that the San Francisco-based company caused the recent activist movements. He does say that, however, “I don’t think anyone…would say that sending a tweet is the equivalent of activism, but it’s another one of the tools that people can use to self-organize…”
Given that Twitter is already blocked in China, it will be interesting to see what the company plans to do given their current position in the market. But, as we’ve seen in the past few years with Google, it’s gonna take cajones to stand up to world’s second-largest economy, and it can very, very easily go awry.
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