How Twitter's new 'censorship' policy could be a journalists' goldmine

Twitter’s decision  to introduce a new “censorship policy” could prove to be a blessing in disguise to enterprising journalists.

The US-based social network has decided “to reactively withhold” content from users on a country-by-country basis.

It says the change will enable it to “enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression”.

It has partnered with www.chillingeffects.org, a project that acts as a clearing house for desist notices.

People who object to a Tweet can contact chillingeffects. They send a desist notice to Twitter, who then decide whether to remove the post.

The site lists all these desist notices. And freelance journalist Alun Hill MCIOJ, who specialises in creative journalism sourcing, says the database could be a journalist’s goldmine.

Alun suggests journalists use the site’s search tool and enter words like: “injunction”, “celebrity”, “UK”, “Giggs” etc …

I tried searching with the word “injunction” and this came up in the search results. Great story! Bit old … but there’s plenty of newer ones there!

Alun added:

Also, if you keep an eye on chillingeffect, you can see any news items that have been taken down.

Then you can see if the person has reposted the Tweet that has been complained of.

You can also potentially see other items they’ve Tweeted. These could generate story leads.

You can also stay up-to-date with news and postings at chillingeffect by using any news reader, or Google alerts.

Cleland Thom is a consultant and trainer in media law

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