As first noticed by GigaOm last evening, Twitter has announced a new policy for dealing with allegedly infringing Tweets.
On receipt of a complaint from a copyright holder, in the past Twitter has simply deleted Tweets leaving the site’s users completely in the dark as to what had happened. But now a change in policy will see Twitter increase transparency by providing more information about disappeared Tweets.
The way it will work in future is outlined as follows. Copyright holders will submit a ticket to Twitter containing a DMCA complaint. After an initial inspection Twitter will notify the author of the Tweet in question that their post has been removed. They will also send along a copy of the original complaint and give the user an opportunity to file a counter-notice. The big change comes with how the offending Tweet is displayed while that process is underway.
“In an effort to be as transparent as possible regarding the removal or restriction of access to user-posted content, we clearly mark withheld Tweets and media to indicate to viewers when content has been withheld,” the Twitter team explains.
“We also send a copy of each DMCA notification and counter-notice that we process to Chilling Effects, where they are posted to a public-facing website (with your personal information removed).”
Twitter then give an example of how a removed Tweet will appear, containing the following text.
“This Tweet from @Username has been withheld in response to a report from the copyright holder. Learn more”
So how quick were Twitter to take down a Tweet and replace it with this notice for the very first time? Well, at least on the surface, very quick indeed.
The Tweet shown above comes from Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure.
However, while it might appear to be a world first, we sensed that something didn’t look quite right. And, after all, it’s quite easy to post a similar Tweet and provoke a reaction on Twitter.
TorrentFreak contacted Mikko and he’s yet to respond but in any event we’re pretty sure that Mikko isn’t likely to be posting infringing content on Twitter any more than we are.
Also, his Tweet was “withheld” just a few hours after Twitter made the announcement, far too quickly for a complaint to be made and Twitter to respond – especially at midnight on a Friday evening.
But as this article is being written, Mikko has posted a new Tweet in response to people doubting whether the takedown was genuine or not.
Well Mikko, we can tell. It’s quite subtle but let’s just say that the real Twitter “withheld” version contains a feature that normal users simply cannot pull off.
Have you spotted it yet? Have a guess in the comments section below.
Update: We just received a comment from Mikko
“I read the Twitter support article about their new DMCA policy over the weekend and immediately tried finding an example of such a censored tweet. Since I couldn’t find any, I decided to create one,” Mikko explained.
“So yes, it was a joke.”