Twitter assumes role as defender of free speech


From The New York Times:

At a time when Internet companies control so much of what we can say and do online, can Twitter stand up for privacy, free expression and profitability all at the same time?

“They are going to have to monetize the data that they have and they can’t rock the boat maybe,” said Ryan Calo, a law professor at the University of Washington. “I don’t predict Twitter is going to lose its way, but it’s a moment to watch.”

Jonathan Zittrain, one of his former professors at Harvard Law School, called it both a challenge and opportunity for Mr. Macgillivray, widely known as @amac, his handle on Twitter, and one that could influence the Internet industry at large.

“If @amac can help find a path through it, it may serve as a model for corporate responsibility for an Internet where more and more code and content is governed by corporate gatekeepers,” Mr. Zittrain said via e-mail.

He added that the challenge for Mr. Macgillivray “is not only to pioneer a wise way through this thicket, but to implement it as Twitter’s use continues to explode: it’s complex maintenance on a jet engine while the plane is in flight.”