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Twitter censors neo-Nazi account in Germany

Twitter has blocked German users of the site from viewing the page and tweets of a certain neo-Nazi group, after a request was sent by German police officials to have the page deleted. However it still remains online and viewable elsewhere in the world.

The group in question is known as Besseres Hannover, which loosely translates to Better Hannover. Last month the group was supposedly disbanded by the local police forces after being charged with forming a criminal organisation and threatening immigrants. Ultimately all assets were seized, over 20 members arrested and much of their online presence destroyed or taken down. The fact that the Twitter account for the group hasn’t tweeted since the raids, suggest that it was a successful one.

Twitter Hannover
The Besseres Hannover page is still accessible outside Germany

The group was actually declared illegal in Germany, which takes quite a tough stance on neo-Nazis and has a specific anti-Nazi law that was used in this instance to close the group down. Despite the request to have the Twitter page of Besseres Hannover deleted however, as it stands it was only been blocked within the country.

Chief Lawyer for Twitter Alex Macgillivray, said that while the site, “never wants to withhold content”, it was “good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently”. He also posted a link to the original police request.

KitGuru Says: While it might seem that Twitter is engaging in censorship here – something that social networking does a good job of avoiding in general – it is technically being quite shrewd. It’s applying by local law in Germany by not showing the content and where that law isn’t applicable it allows it to be seen. What do you guys think?

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