The real problem with Twitter blocking a journalist's account
By Dave Cridland - posted . See all Dave Cridland's articles
Guy Adams, a journalist for The Independent, was removed (and later reinstated) from the Twitter service. But there's a larger problem.
The problem is that Twitter is a company. If Google decided they don't like me, they could yank my Google+ account, too - I may not like it, and I may consider them to be behaving badly as a result - but I'm not paying for the account. It's a free service, and really, who am I to dictate how they might run it?
It's an issue that seems to escape the media rather a lot - the media's love affair with Twitter and other social media sites has been very beneficial to the social media sites themselves - when the BBC encourage people to send in comments for Question Time via Twitter, they're heavily promoting a private organization who are essentially accountable to nobody - or least least, not accountable to those posting, or reading, the service, and not to the BBC either.
Of course, we're largely forced into this, because if I want to talk to other people on Twitter, I'm going to need a Twitter account. This kind of monopoly on the social graph is quite alarming, it's like a playground clique on a global scale, telling me who I can and cannot be friends with.
Compare and contrast to the various "federated" and "distributed" social networks - of which I maintain that Simon Tennant, with Buddycloud, has the one most likely to succeed - where a user can pick their publisher - or indeed be their own publisher - without compromising their reach.
This isn't an attack on Twitter, specifically - it's a general problem that's just as important with Google+, or Facebook. Not only have we - the internet community - put a heck of a lot of eggs in a very, very few baskets, but they're not even our baskets.
The original version of this post appeared on Dave Cridland's Google+ stream.
Dave Cridland is an internet specialist and computer programmer, and writes RFC standards for various internet-based messaging protocols.
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