Twitter, the world famous micro blogging service, added the ability to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis, especially where there are restrictions on self-expression. The San Francisco-based company is struggling to reconcile its philosophical opposition to censorship with the economic desire to expand around the globe.

The shift would let Twitter limit censorship just in one country and not for its entire audience. The decision received criticism from some users because the service has been used as an agent of social change around the world, including places like the Middle East.

Twitter, like other major Internet companies such as Facebook, Google and Yahoo knows how to deal with a complex web of laws and state-imposed restrictions, which have the power to hush dissident voices and sway public opinion.

Some free-speech advocates defended Twitter, saying it was handing them tools to fight censorship. Zeynep Tufekci, assistant professor at the University of North Carolina and a fellow at the Harvard Berkman Center for Internet and Society, said she found herself in the unusual position of praising, not condemning, *Twitter*’s policies.

On the contrary, other groups accused Twitter of taking censors’ sides and demanded a change to this new policy. “Twitter is depriving cyber dissidents in repressive countries of a crucial tool for information and organisation,” Reporters Without Borders, a journalist organisation, wrote in a letter to Dorsey, *Twitter*’s executive chairman.