Twitter shuts out German neo-Nazi group's account

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by Laura Matovina

BERLIN (AP) -- Twitter says it has for the first time blocked an account with its "country withheld content" function, shutting out a banned German neo-Nazi group at the behest of local authorities.

Twitter spokesman Dirk Hensen said Thursday the account (at)hannoverticker has been blocked in Germany only, where its content is considered illegal.

He says the content is still available for Twitter users elsewhere.

The account is used by the far-right group "Besseres Hannover" -- "Better Hannover" -- which Lower Saxony's state government banned last month on grounds it was promoting Nazi ideals in an attempt to undermine German's democracy.

Twitter announced the blocking function in January, insisting its commitment to free speech remains firm despite global outrage that the social media tool of choice for dissidents and activists was being limited.

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