Twitter is one of the most popular social networking sites on the web. However, most of its audience comes from English-speaking regions of the world. In an effort to expand more globally, Twitter had two announcement this week related to its clear intention to reach out for the international community.
The first announcement is that Twitter will soon be available also in Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu and the second is that Twitter will begin censoring Tweets or users in specific countries. To be a little more clear, both of the announcements are targeted towards crowds from non-Western parts of the world…
Translating Right-to-Left Languages
Couple of days ago Twitter has announced that the right-to-left languages Arabic, Farsi, Hebrew and Urdu became available for translation (voluntarily) in Twitter Translation Center and the intention is to release a translated Twitter version in these languages already in the next few months, next to the other 22 translated Twitter versions.
Twitter stating that in order to get ready for right-to-left languages, they have developed “new ways” to make Tweets and hashtags to work properly. Note that almost all countries that speaks these languages (except Hebrew) are developing countries which obviously aren’t part of the Western world. Does Twitter wants to take a bigger part in the next Arab Spring?
Censoring Tweets/Users In Specific Countries
In the second announcement (and much more interesting for my opinion) Twitter has stated that it might censor Tweets or complete user’s accounts in specific countries that perceived freedom of speech, well, not so much as free… They even stated that they pretty much realize that: “We will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression.”
Before this announcement, when Twitter wanted to block contents from its network (which happened rarely), it had to erase it completely but now it can block it only in a specific country. Again, this update also obviously targeted towards world regions that don’t grasp freedom of speech as something important. Did i already mention non-Western parts of the world?
Twitter stated that they will be transparent whenever censoring and they will notify users by email when their Tweet(s) or account has been blocked in a specific country. You can find more information about it in Twitter’s help page for country withheld content.