Microblogging service Twitter is taking on the recent decision by Egyptian authorities to shut off access to the Internet amidst massive unrest in the country, saying that no matter how threatening online organization may seem, the “tweets must flow.”
Egypt shut down all routes to the Internet at 12:34 am Egyptian time on Thursday, according to Renesys, an internet intelligence authority.
Twitter cofounder Biz Stone (pictured) and company lawyer Alexander Macgillivray responded to the move with a blog post Friday, in which they noted Twitter’s importance as a channel for political discourse and change.
Here’s an excerpt from that blog post:
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.
The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact. This is both a practical and ethical belief. On a practical level, we simply cannot review all one hundred million-plus Tweets created and subsequently delivered every day. From an ethical perspective, almost every country in the world agrees that freedom of expression is a human right.
The use of Twitter as an agent for political and social change will only increase in upcoming years as the service continues to reach more people in real-time, cofounder Evan Williams predicted in October at a public debate.
“It’s always been our goal to reach the ‘weakest signals’ all over the world, such as the recent usage in Iran and Moldova,” when those countries were undergoing violent unrest and saw little local media coverage of protests, Williams said at the time.