Freedom of Expression

Today people are boycotting Twitter’s decision of selectively block some content posted through Twitter, due to some countries’ political views. I can understand why a lot of people’s outcry for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. At the meantime, I also understand why Twitter’s management has to make such decision to show their capability of blocking certain content. Whether they are going to actually do and how they would implement it, is still in question.

There are still a lot of countries on this planet in which people cannot speak freely. One can be jailed or lose his or her freedom by speaking out his mind. Many had even lost their lives when fighting for the freedom. Twitter could be used by the freedom fighters as such a tool.

Should Twitter support such a fight with some dissidents to the government or to violate the laws of a foreign country? Should Twitter take the risk of losing the opportunity to serve millions of their users just for a few political fighters? Sometimes business owners don’t want to get involved into such a fight. Twitter is a business tool, not political tool.

For many of us who had lived under totalitarian society, we understand the value of freedom of speech. Would you rather have the government completely close down your channel of communication, or have some compromise and less controversial argument? The change towards the freedom is a long road. It won’t happen overnight. I would rather take the fight in a more subtle way than directly. In this sense, I understand the decision made by Twitter.

Just yesterday, another news came from North Korea. The government is banning their citizens to use mobile phones, and label cell phone users as “war criminals”. Under such kind of conditions, if there is a choice, we should work hard to preserve any communication channel for the North Korean people rather than disrupting existing ones we might have in order to satisfy our so-called freedom.

On the other hand, I don’t know why Twitter has to tell the world they can do what they announced. It’s not necessary.



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