Twitter co-founder says Great Firewall of China will fall

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The Independent Tech

Twitter co-founder Evan Williams told a gathering of the technology faithful on Monday that notorious censorship firewalls in countries such as China will give way to online innovations.

"The Internet is a tidal wave that is going to be impossible for anyone to keep out," Williams said during an on-stage chat at the South By South West Interactive gathering here.

"In places like China it is hard to say how long those firewalls will be able to hold up," he said.

Beijing tightly controls online content in a vast system of censorship often called the "Great Firewall of China", removing information it deems harmful - including pornography and violence, but also politically sensitive material.

Williams's comments came as Internet colossus Google and China face-off on the censorship of online searches in that country.

California-based Google has said it is prepared to leave the world's largest online market if Beijing continues to insist on its censoring its Web searches.

China on Friday warned Google it would face "consequences" if it stopped filtering its search results, after the firm threatened to leave the country over cyberattacks and Web censorship.

Google threatened in January to abandon its Chinese-language search engine and perhaps leave China altogether over what it said were cyberattacks aimed at its source code and at the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

The company has since continued to filter results on Google.cn and posted ads for dozens of positions in China, which has 384 million web users.

"We are just realizing the promise of the Internet," Williams said. "It is about democratization of information that anybody can share with the world... It will continue to change institutions for the coming decades."

Twitter has become an Internet Age superstar since it was created in 2006 as a way for people to share their thoughts, observations and activities in the form of messages of no more than 140 characters.

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