Biz Stone: “The Tweets Must Flow”
The Egyptian government’s decision to shut down Internet access doesn’t seem to have gone over well with Twitter cofounder Biz Stone. While Stone was diplomatic enough not to name the country, a new 400-word post on the official Twitter Blog very much speaks to the situation, stressing the importance of freedom of speech.
Stone wrote this afternoon, "Our goal is to instantly connect people everywhere to what is most meaningful to them. For this to happen, freedom of expression is essential. Some Tweets may facilitate positive change in a repressed country, some make us laugh, some make us think, some downright anger a vast majority of users. We don’t always agree with the things people choose to tweet, but we keep the information flowing irrespective of any view we may have about the content."
Later, perhaps addressing the idea that the Egyptian government might ask his company to hand over protestors’ info, Stone continued, "Our position on freedom of expression carries with it a mandate to protect our users’ right to speak freely and preserve their ability to contest having their private information revealed. While we may need to release information as required by law, we try to notify Twitter users before handing over their information whenever we can so they have a fair chance to fight the request if they so choose."
So although Egyptian authorities have largely made this a moot point for the time being, Stone’s blog post helps further establish Twitter’s stance on censorship and cooperating with repressive governments.
On a side note, it also indicates that the company’s still growing fast, with Stone inviting people who have a similar outlook to work at Twitter.