Berlin, Oct. 18 (AP): Twitter has for the first time blocked an account using a new tool that allows it to bar content in individual countries, shutting out a banned German neo-Nazi group at the behest of local authorities.
Twitter spokesman Dirk Hensen told The Associated Press in an email today that the account @hannoverticker has been blocked only in Germany, where its content is considered illegal.
“At the beginning of the year Twitter announced the so-called ‘country withheld content’ function, which enables us to remove illegal content in a particular country while leaving it available for the rest of the world,” he said.
“In doing this we place great value on transparency; in the case of the account @hannoverticker we used this function for the first time.”
For further details, he pointed to the Twitter account of the company’s general counsel Alex Macgillivray, who said in a tweet that the site’s administrators “never want to withhold content, good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently”.
The @hannoverticker account is used by a fringe far-right group, Besseres Hannover — Better Hannover, which Lower Saxony’s state government banned last month on the ground that it was promoting Nazi ideals.
In a letter posted by Twitter, Lower Saxony authorities asked the company to “close this account immediately and not to open any substitute accounts for the organisation Besseres Hannover”. The letter said the ban included an order for “the closure of all user accounts of the Besseres Hannover group”.