News Column

Social Network Twitter Blocks German neo-Nazi Account

Oct. 18, 2012

The Twitter account of a neo-Nazi group was blocked in Germany Thursday, after authorities asked the administrators of the social networking site to intervene.

It is the first time the company has implemented national censorship laws anywhere in the world. In Germany, it is illegal to spread the ideology of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

The "Better Hanover" group of about 40 right-wing extremists who campaign against immigrants via @hannoverticker and in person had been active since 2008 until last month, when it was outlawed.

Police in Hanover asked Twitter to shut down the account. The tweets from the group are still visible outside of Germany.

Twitter's general counsel Alex Macgillivray tweeted: "Never want to withhold content; good to have tools to do it narrowly and transparently."

The interior minister for Hanover, Uwe Schuenemann, praised Twitter's quick response as "a really important step," saying neo-Nazis were using the internet extensively to broadcast their "inhumane ideology" and recruit new members.

The assets of the group have already been seized under a police ban.

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Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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