Censoring the Internet

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Posted by: Nicole Sternhagen

We all have enjoyed the freedom to post what we want on the Internet; but what happens when the government finally finds a way to censor internet postings?

In my media law class, we have discussed options the government has over censoring the web and, try though they might, the United States government really haven’t had much luck – thanks to the First Amendment.

Unfortunately, other countries are not so lucky.

However, governments across the world can only try and prevent citizens from going on certain websites, rather than edit what is seen on sites. But even that is hard to have a complete grasp over as the internet grows more and more complex.

The web is becoming an uncontrollable beast that, more often than not, is regulated by the user – corporations and individuals across the globe that take the time to create sites. As web builders work together to create cohesive pages that will be cross-browser compatible, they are also deciding the standard interoperability requirements for sites. With so much of the control is the hands of those who even have the slightest idea of how to use it, it’s no wonder internet content has grown so rampant.

Tredistic.com: Twitter Trending Topcis

The latest news out there is related, of course, to Wikileaks. Many accusations have been made to Twitter that they are keeping certain topics out of Trending Topics, namely Wikileaks. The question is, why does Twitter have a vested interest in keeping Wikileaks quiet? The only connection I can see would be if the United States government was involved. Would the it be able to issue a gag order to internet sites? If this is even plausible, what would Twitter get from working with government?

So far Twitter has denied these allegations and has claimed that the trends do not work the way people seem to think, or even that the topics simply aren’t as widespread or popular as they may seem.

Have you noticed an inconsistency in Twitter’s  Trending Topics? Why do you think Twitter would be motivated to alter the Trends, if you think they are even involved at all?

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4 responses to “Censoring the Internet

  1. The people behind Twitter would be motivated to discourage Wikileaks because they are patriotic and don’t want our country’s secrets shared … that seems like a pretty good motive. I have no idea if they are changing the trends, but they have every right to stop something if it is against their values. If they are, however, they shouldn’t lie about it.

    • Nicole Sternhagen

      This could get into a really tricky discussion of whether websites that span the globe still have an obligation to country of origin. Good point about them having a right to protect their values, but I agree, they should be up front about what they stand for if they are altering trends.

  2. It certainly seems a bit iffy that the trending topics in Twitter do not include Wikileaks and saying that the government wants to protect some of its dirty secrets is a safe assumption. But at least we still have the freedom to post and use the internet pretty much however we want. Sometimes we take that right for granted. China has all sorts of restrictions, so we are lucky we have freedom of speech in the web.

  3. If it were in fact true that Twitter was changing their trendy topics to not include Wikileaks, it would be quite an interesting example of how much social media has affected how we get our news now and what sources we consider news-worthy.

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