Twitter has announced that it will now be able to withhold tweets in specific countries rather than removing them globally.

This means that when it is deemed necessary to withhold a tweet in one country, the rest of the world will still be able to see it, and users whose tweets are being taken down will be notified as to why.

"We have also built in a way to communicate transparently to users when content is withheld and why," Twitter explains on its blog. "We will clearly mark when the content has been withheld."

It's almost a year to the day since Twitter posted its 'TheTweets must flow' blog post in which it crowed about its intention to "protect our users' right to speak freely" and to only remove content or pass contact details to authorities if required to by law.

Selective Tweeting

The company has always maintained that the majority of tweets fall under 'freedom of expression' and as such has steered clear of removing much – but last year became embroiled in the whole super-injunction fiasco after a Twitter account was set up with the sole purpose of unmasking celebrities who had taken out the legal gagging orders.

At that point, Twitter maintained that it would "strive not to remove tweets on the basis of their content" but has made the change today to aid it as it expands into more countries around the world.

"As we continue to grow internationally, we will enter countries that have different ideas about the contours of freedom of expression. Some differ so much from our ideas that we will not be able to exist there," it added, probably referring to China where the site is banned.

To try and pre-empt the "censorship" outcry by expanding its partnership with Chilling Effects, clearly showing what applications to remove tweets have been made and by whom – you can peruse them here.

From Twitter