Twitter agrees to block ‘blasphemous’ tweets in Pakistan: Report

NEW YORK: Twitter, a U.S.-based online social networking and microblogging service, has honoured five requests from Pakistan in this month to block tweets considered, “blasphemous or “unethical”, The New York Times reported Friday.

Abdul Batin of the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority made the requests in which he asked the company, which headquarters in San Francisco, to shield his compatriots from exposure to “blashemous” accounts, tweets or searches of the social network, the newspaper said in a report.

Twitter complied with all the five requests which called for blocking crude drawings of holy Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH), photographs of burning Qurans, and messages from a handful of anti-Islam bloggers and an American porn star who now attends Duke University, the report added.

The blocking of these tweets in Pakistan, “in line with the country-specific censorship policy Twitter unveiled in 2012” is the first time the social network has agreed to withhold content there, it was pointed out.

According to the Times, Twitter, which has trumpeted its commitment to free speech, argues that it is a lesser evil to block specific tweets that might violate local laws than to have the entire site blocked in certain countries. Twitter posts a record of every request it agrees to in the Chilling Effects Clearinghouse, a database maintained by eight American law schools and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.