Reaction to Twitter’s block on German Neo-Nazi group
TWITTER has decided, for the first time, to block German’s access to the account of a neo-Nazi group. This is the first time Twitter has decided to act on a policy known as “country withheld content”.
“Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly & transparently,” said Alex MacGillivray, the company’s general counsel, posted on Twitter Thursday morning in Germany.
“It’s not a great thing, but it’s a way of minimizing censorship,” said Jillian C. York, director for international freedom of expression at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group. “It’s better for Twitter if they can keep countries happy without having to take the whole thing down.”
Now, in Germany, the use of Nazi symbols and slogans can be criminally prosecuted and the government will be happy with this ban. However, there’ll be some who see this as a ‘freedom of speech’ problem.
Freedom of speech is one thing, but that’s not the issue. Germans should be allowed to see and indeed, engage with groups like this. Not for some political reason, but rather, it takes virtually no time at all for a racist group to make themselves look like complete idiots and paint themselves into a corner, thereby discrediting themselves.
Also, most Germans will have no doubt ignored them or indeed, took great pleasure in tearing them a new arsehole. It is important that racist and far-right groups are allowed to speak because they always end up looking really stupid when you let them talk for long enough.
Sending them underground will only make them seem secretive and more appealing to those who might want to join a Neo Nazi group.
Let them speak. Let people hear them. The shallowest part of the stream always makes the loudest noise… and it is far easier to freeze too. Give Germany the credit to dispatch people with unsavoury views.
Photo: Picture taken Thursday March 24, 2011 showing Irmela Mensah-Schramm (65) from Berlin removing a xenophobic poster with the inscription ” Foreigner Out” at a street in Berlin’s Rudow district. For about the last 25 years Irmela Mensah-Schramm has walked through the streets of Berlin and other cities to paint over or remove paintings, stickers or slogans from neo-nazis from walls, street lamps and other places.