Emma Barnett reports:
Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief, has stood by the company’s decision not to suspend the service during the UK riots or disclose user identities to authorities.
Speaking at the annual Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco, Costolo referred specifically to the UK riots when talking about the need to ensure Twitter remains a platform upon which freedom of speech is prioritised , even during times of civil unrest.
“One of our core values is respect and the need to defend the user’s voice,” he explained. “In the case of the London riots…the majority of the tweets were more about organising cleans ups [rather than inciting violence].”
It was thought that after a number of executives from Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry were summoned to a meeting with Theresa May, the Home Secretary, after their services were used to coordinate and encourage looting during the UK riots, the Government would try to temporarily suspend the digital networks.
However, Costolo revealed that instead of engaging in shut down talks in such meetings, it told government officials that the “hope” is the majority of tweets around a hot topic such as the riots, will be geared at trying to help matters, rather than incite more violence.
He reiterated that a free speech was a core tenet of Twitter, citing the motto of the company’s General Counsel: “We are the free speech wing of the free speech party.”