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World Premiere as Twitter Blocks Neo-Nazi Account in Germany

Bianca STANESCU

October 18, 2012

World Premiere as Twitter Blocks Neo-Nazi Account in Germany

Twitter has blocked access to a neo-Nazi account in Germany at the request of the government in the first test of a new censorship policy, according to the BBC. The micro-blogging platform left the tweets of the account visible to the rest of the world.

The amendments give Twitter “the ability to reactively withhold content from users in a specific country — while keeping it available in the rest of the world.”

“We announced the ability to withhold content back in January,” Twitter General Counsel Alex Macgillivray said on his Twitter account. “We’re using it now for the first time re: a group deemed illegal in Germany.”

The social networking website received via fax a complaint from the Hannover Police at the end of September. “I ask you to close this account immediately and not to open any substitute accounts for the organisation Besseres Hannover,” the Head of Police Administrative Department in Hannover wrote.

He said the government has already banned the right-wing extremist group from Lower Saxony. “It is disbanded, its assets are seized and all its accounts in social networks have to be closed immediately,” the letter read.

“We don`t care,” tweeted the organization`s representatives when declared illegal by the government. “The Federal Republic of Germany is when one is awakening from his sleep and wakes up in the Democratic Republic.”

Their “national information portal from Hanover” account is still visible on Twitter with the handle @hannoverticker, but hasn`t been updated since the end of September.

German prosecutors have started an investigation against 20 members of the extremist group on charges of inciting racial hatred and creating a criminal organization.


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