Twitter vows to circumvent censorship

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Company refuses to talk to Chinese government.

Twitter has revealed that it is trying to stop its service being censored or blocked by foreign governments such as those of Iran and China, according to widespread reports.

Twitter chief executive Evan Williams said at the World Economic Forum in Davos that the site is working on a number of ways to avoid censorship, and will not engage with governments on the issue.

"The most productive way to fight being blocked is not by trying to engage China and other governments whose very being is against what we are about," Williams is quoted as saying in the International Business Times.

Williams added that the wide range of distribution streams on which Twitter can run, including syndication sites and mobile applications, means that the site has a better chance of evading government censorship than single sites.

Twitter was hacked last year by a group calling itself the Iranian Cyber Army after the site had been used by anti-government protesters to arrange demonstrations and spread information outside the country.

The company's stance also underlines the growing concerns of western organisations and governments about the Chinese government's attitude to web censorship.

Google threatened to pull out of China two weeks ago after a hack on its systems appeared to have originated in the country, and US secretary of state Hillary Clinton subsequently stepped in to urge China to review the allegations.

However, a report in The Times claimed that World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee said at Davos that discussion is the best way to get governments like China to agree to stop censorship of search terms and open up the internet.

Twitter's announcement follows the launch of location-based Trending Topics to allow users to see the most popular topics in individual countries and cities.

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