RIP Twitter.com – Is Freedom of Speech Making a Comeback?

Updated on May 30, 2024
RIP Twitter.com – Is Freedom of Speech Making a Comeback?

The social media platform formerly known as Twitter has officially migrated to X.com. CEO Elon Musk revealed this on Friday, stating that the platform’s previous URL had officially retired.

When you type in the original address, it will redirect you to X.com. In 2022, the billionaire CEO Elon Musk of Tesla, SpaceX, and other companies bought Twitter for $44 billion. Although the logo and branding had already been changed to X, the domain name remained Twitter.com till Friday.

Acknowledging the change, Elon Musk tweeted, “All core systems are now on X.com.” This post also included a logo similar to his erstwhile online banking firm. Musk started by saying he wanted “X” to be a super app like China’s WeChat. 

The Chinese app is more significant than X and incorporates messaging, voice, video calling, mobile payment, social media, online booking, games, and other services. He envisions X as “an app for everything,” integrating audio, video, payments, messages, and artificial intelligence.

An Extensive History of the Twitter Ban In Different Countries

X (formerly known as Twitter) has been banned in various countries for different reasons. Some have only lasted temporarily and are back up and running; other bans still last today. 

2009

  • In the 2009 presidential elections, the Iranian government blocked Twitter because of the fear of organized protests.

2010

  • In August 2010, the South Korean Government tried blocking certain Twitter content because the North Korean Government opened a Twitter account.

2011

  • On January 25th, 2011, Twitter was blocked in Egypt during the 2011 Egyptian protests. 
  • By February 2nd, 2011, connectivity had been re-established by four leading Egyptian service providers.

2012

  • In August 2012, Twitter accounts spoofing the Prime Minister of India were blocked following the violence in Assam.

2013

  • When users anonymously posted antisemitic and racist content, Twitter removed the post from the service. The Union of Jewish Students (UEJF), a French advocacy group, filed lawsuits. On January 24th, 2013, Judge Anne-Marie Sauteraud ordered Twitter to reveal the personally identifiable information of the users posting antisemitic content, saying that the post violated French laws against hate speech.

2014

  • In May 2014, Twitter disabled the ability to view specific tweets at the request of the Government of Pakistan, stating that they were blasphemous.
  • The same month, Twitter blocked a pro-Ukranian political account for Russian users. It happened when Russian officials threatened to ban Twitter if they didn’t delete tweets that violated Russian laws.
  • In April 2014, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, FAZ, reported that Twitter had blocked two regime-hostile accounts in Turkey, both known for pointing out corruption.
  • In February 2014, Twitter images were temporarily blocked in Venezuela. 

2016

  • In 2016, North Korea began to block Twitter “in a move underscoring its concern with the spread of online information.”
  • In 2016, Israeli IP addresses were blocked from accessing comments by American blogger Richard Silverstein regarding a criminal investigation involving a minor who was under a gag order according to Israeli law. Israeli Ministry of Justice requested this.

2017

  • On November 25th, 2017, the NetBlocks internet shutdown observatory and Digital Rights Foundation collected evidence of a country-wide blocking of Twitter and other social media services, which the Pakistani government implemented in response to the religious political party protests.

2018

  • By 2018, Turkmenistan had blocked all foreign news and opposition websites, and Twitter was often inaccessible there.

2019

  • During the curfew of Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5th, 2019, the Indian government requested Twitter to suspend accounts that were spreading rumors and promoting anti-India content.
  • In February 2019, an internet monitoring group in Venezuela reported that the state-run internet provider CANTV blocked Twitter. This happened because opposition leader Juan Guaid√≥ made a tweet linking a highly critical recording posted to SoundCloud.

2020

  • In October 2020, ISPs in Tanzania blocked all social media during elections. All the other sites were unblocked, but Twitter remained blocked across all ISPs.
  • In July 2020, Twitter announced that all information and data requests for Hong Kong authorities were paused after the Chinese government imposed the Hong Kong national security law.

2021

  • In February 2021, the Myanmar Military State Administrative Council ordered Mobile and Internet providers to block Instagram and Twitter.
  • In July 2021, Uzbekistan blocked access to Twitter, alongside Skype, VKontakte, and TikTok, stating that they had violated new personal data laws.
  • In March 2021, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media began to throttle Twitter on mobiles and 50% of computers, stating that Twitter’s regulatory board failed to remove illegal content. They said Twitter would be blocked in Russia if the board didn’t comply.
  • In April 2021, a Russian court found Twitter guilty of three counts of “violating regulations on restricting unlawful content” and ordered the social media network to pay $117,000 as a legal penalty.
  • In February 2021, Twitter blocked hundreds of accounts posting about India’s farmer protest from being accessed by users in India. The Ministry requested this from Home Affairs. The government ministry claimed that the accounts were spreading misinformation.
  • In June 2021, Twitter lost its immunity as an intermediary under the Information Technology Act in India because it failed to appoint a local representative.

2022

  • During the Invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia began restricting access to Twitter, with NetBlocks observing that the censorship was in effect “across multiple providers.”
  • From June 2021 to January 2022, the government of Nigeria officially banned Twitter. The ban took place after Twitter deleted tweets by Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, warning the southeastern Nigerians of the repeat of the Biafran Civil War because of the insurgency in Southeastern Nigeria.
  • In July 2022, Twitter filed a lawsuit against the Indian government after it was ordered to remove multiple accounts and tweets that violated India’s laws.

2024

  • In February 2024, X was banned in Pakistan by the government because of the elections, which prevented citizens from their right to access information online. The Pakistani government blocked access, saying that it was due to national security concerns. 
  • In 2024, the Sindh High Court in Pakistan ordered the government to restore access to the platform within a week, according to a report by AFP news, stating lawyer Moiz Jaaferi, who had launched a separate challenge against the ban.

Does The Domain Name Change Offer Hope For Unrestricted Access To X?

After the domain name change, many people noticed that X was unblocked in the countries where it was previously blocked. This means that people living in the countries where Twitter was previously censored now have unrestricted access to the platform. Elon Musk envisioned a platform where freedom of speech is encouraged; that is the vision he saw when X came to the forefront. This vision has urged many people to freely post content on X and share their views and ideas about the world.

However, because of this freedom and right to express views freely, many governments are reconsidering blocking X again as it will be in their best interest. So, don’t think this unrestricted access is going to last forever. However, you can prepare for any potential ban on X by investing in a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to bypass geolocation restrictions and censorship.

Looking To Bypass Geolocation Restrictions? Look No Further Than AstrillVPN

A VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to bypass geolocation restrictions and gain access to censored content. If you’re looking for a VPN provider, AstrillVPN has you covered. It will enable you to access content in countries with heavy censorship, such as China. If you live in a country where X has been blocked, you can connect to a different server location using AstrillVPN and instantly gain access to the platform.

If security is your priority, AstrillVPN offers a host of excellent security features, such as the Kill Switch feature, Smart Mode, and AES-256 encryption, which is the industry standard. It also offers a host of secure encryption protocols like StealthVPN, OpenWeb, and Wireguard, ensuring that all your privacy and security needs are handled. It also provides DNS leak protection and other necessary privacy tools.

Being in a censorship-heavy region doesn’t have to stop you. All you have to do is connect to a reliable VPN service like AstrillVPN, and you’ll be able to access X easily and effortlessly without any issues. However, remember that a VPN can only cause issues if it’s banned in your region. Also, we recommend opting for VPNs based in privacy-friendly jurisdictions like AstrillVPN, which is based in Liechtenstein.

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About The Author

Urfa Sarmad

Urfa is a business management graduate who delved into the world of tech, data privacy and cybersecurity and has been writing tech and privacy related content ever since. In her free time.

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