DER SPIEGEL, HANNOVERSCHE ALLGEMEINE (Germany), FRANCE 24, AFP (France)
Twitter has agreed to block content from a neo-Nazi account at the request of German authorities.
For the first time in its short history, Twitter has censored tweets in a specific country. The microblogging service has had the capacity since January 2012 to block tweets from certain sources to specific countries, but until now has not done so. Facebook and Google have had selective censorship for several years, according to Der Spiegel.
The police in Hanover, in the German state of Niedersachsen, asked Twitter to block tweets from the Besseres Hannover (Better Hanover) neo-Nazi organization, which has about 40 members.
At the end of September, Besseres Hannover (motto: “Germans help Germans”) was banned for “clearly acknowledging” that they were Nazis, urging the overthrow of Germany’s government, and racial hate speech, reported local newspaper Hannoversche Allgemeine. Hate speech and Nazism are against the law in Germany.
Twitter has blocked the Besseres Hannover account, @hannoverticker, but only in Germany. It is still freely accessible from other countries, and Germans who want to can still see it by using proxy servers.
Ironically, the account’s tweets are currently rather bland, and plenty of other more active Germany neo-Nazi handles are still tweeting.
“We’re banned now. So what?” an online member told the Hannoversche Allgemeine.
Last week in France an avalanche of anti-Semitic tweets under the hashtag hashtag #unbonjuif (#agoodjew) created a huge controversy.
The French Jewish Students Union (UEFJ) said they would be lodging a complaint against Twitter, who has since agreed to call the association on Thursday to discuss the matter, according to the AFP.
“Twitter cannot become a zone where people behave with impunity,” said UEFJ President Jonathan Hayoun told France 24. “Everyone has to take legal responsibility for their actions and statements, wherever they are made, and whichever racial or religious group they offend.”
Here is an image of one of many German neo-Nazi accounts still active on Twitter, from the town of Rostock.