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The US State Department wants employees tweets to be reviewed for two days before they are posted
The US State Department has recently decided to tighten the screws on State Department employees participating on the social media – more particularly on Twitter. The State Department has passed an order wherein employees have to submit their tweets two days in advance for an internal review before tweeting the message from their Twitter account. Further, the time for review of posts in other forms of media like blogs, articles and books would take around 5, 10 and 30 days respectively.
Without doubt, while a two-day review of employees’ tweets sounds hilariously insane (for example, it might take eight days to exchange two tweet messages with a colleague and get respective replies), what made more news than the actual State Department decision was the slamming they received from global media. Nicholas Kristof from The New York Times, for example, called the decision “the dumbest idea ever”. Alec Ross, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation, defended the decision, claiming that the two-day delimiter is only an outer window for approval which is much lesser than the earlier 30 day period – and that most tweets would be approved much earlier. There’s also the view that such a rule has been reinforced due to a recent tweet of a department employee on an anti-Muslim video, which unfortunately ended up instigating public anger in Cairo and was also used subsequently by the Republicans in their campaign against Obama. Irrespective, the fact is that there seems to be quite some similarity between the State Department and the censor-loving Chinese Communist Party, which also considers all its citizens akin to its fellow workers. Don’t be surprised now if the State Department extends its two day review rule to employees’ telephone discussions too!
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