At the height of the events in Poland, just at the time when the trade union Solidarnosc was being outlawed, I received a letter stamped NIE CENZUROWANO. What exactly did these words mean? They were probably supposed to indicate that the country from which it came was free of censorship. But it could also mean that letters not bearing this stamp were censored, a token of the selective nature of this office, which apparently mistrusts certain citizens while trusting others. It could naturally also mean that all letters bearing this stamp actually did pass through the censor’s hand. At any rate, this symbolic and ambiguous stamp gives a profound insight into the nature of censorship, which on the one hand wants to establish its rightfulness, while at the same time attempting to camouflage its very existence. For, while censorship considers itself a historical necessity and an institution destined to defend public order and the ruling political party, it does not like to admit that it is there. It sees itself as a temporary evil, to be applied during a state of war. Censorship, then, is only a transitory measure which will be scrapped as soon as all those people who write letters, books, etc are politically mature and responsible, thus exonerating the State and its representatives from having to act as guardians of their citizens.
Canceled on campus for speaking his mind, he’s now going through a sequel at the hands of Silicon Valley…
Europe is increasingly anti-freedom. Eww.
Germany being a bully? Old habits die hard.
The authorities in Germany are demanding those responsible (the developers) for the application to provide user data to security bodies in the event of a judicial request. In addition, they are urging the instant messaging platform to erase criminal content that does not conform to the legal margins of the country.
Meanwhile, other tech giants such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter choose to abide by the provisions of the German authorities, removing any illegal or harmful content, under the Network Enforcement Act, a rule that previously did not apply to Telegram.
PRITI PATEL’s call to censor social media footage of officers is a “blatant attempt to curb citizens’ efforts to hold police to account,” campaigners have warned.
Speaking at the annual Police Federation of England and Wales conference, the Home Secretary said today that she will “not let the police be subjected to trial by social media.”
Supporting plans to counter “highly selective and misleading video clips uploaded on to social media,” Ms Patel also called for police to be proactive at sharing body-worn footage to “correct harmful misinformation circulated online.”
The author Naomi Wolf has been suspended from Twitter after using it to spread myths about the pandemic, vaccines and lockdown.
Wolf, who wrote the influential feminist work The Beauty Myth, holds staunch anti-vaccine views. Last month she told a US congressional committee that vaccine passports would “re-create a situation that is very familiar to me as a student of history. This has been the start of many, many genocides.”
A frightening wave of firings, threats, and retaliation against pro-Palestinian writers and activists has chilled the political climate. Now, more than ever, the “Palestine exception” to free speech standards is being challenged.
India’s government has instructed social media companies to remove any content that refers to the “Indian variant” of Covid-19.
The IT ministry said the World Health Organization (WHO) listed the variant as B.1.617 and any reference to “Indian” was false.
Geographical terms have been used to describe a number of other variants, including the UK and Brazil.
India’s government has faced criticism over its handling of Covid-19.
My main issue it Vice being selective about it’s call for censorship. Nothing more annoying than a hypocrite, even though they may be right in this case.
Facebook just set up an emergency response center to handle the fallout from the Israel-Gaza conflict, but activists aren’t impressed. They say it’s just a “PR exercise” covering over the platform’s systematic censorship of Palestinian voices.
Activists have been trying to call out this censorship for years, and they say it’s gotten worse in recent weeks, with social media users reporting an exponential increase in Palestinian accounts being banned and posts being deleted.
On the call this week announcing the new unit, Facebook’s head of global policy management Monika Bickert told reporters: “We’ve actually set up a special operations center that has 24-hour capabilities with native speakers of Arabic and Hebrew, so that we can stay on top of trends, make sure that we are identifying content that violates our policies and remove that quickly.”
But when pushed for most specifics—like when it was set up, how many people are involved, and what data was available about the work being done—Bickert didn’t have an answer.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has a plan to regulate speech on the internet by placing it under the control of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission. His bill is so awful that Peter Menzies, a former vice chairman of the commission, said it “doesn’t just infringe on free expression, it constitutes a full-blown assault upon it and, through it, the foundations of democracy.”
Mr. Trudeau’s Liberals claim they merely want to level the playing field between traditional broadcasters and online players such as Netflix and Spotify. Yet on its face the bill goes much further.
To begin with, anyone who makes programs available over the internet would be treated as a broadcaster and under the thumb of the CRTC. While websites wouldn’t need a formal license to operate in Canada, the commission would have open-ended power to impose conditions and require them to “make expenditures to support the Canadian broadcasting system.” Who has to do this and how much do they have to spend? They’ll tell us later.
On 6 May, Instagram users in India had stories related to COVID-19 relief efforts, volunteer-driven initiatives and political critique taken down without notice or explanation. These pieces of content disappeared from Archives and Highlights in user profiles as well. Users reported that private chats pertaining to COVID-19-related efforts, activism, and political critique had also started disappearing. In a few instances, volunteer-driven COVID-19 relief pages were taken down entirely.
On 7 May, Instagram issued a public statement noting that this is a “widespread global technical issue not related to any topic” and later that day claimed to have “fixed the issue”. In a subsequent public statement from 8 May, the company noted that the problem arose because its “automated systems launched an update intended to better detect whether reshared media in a story was still available” and their systems ended up “treat[ing] all reshared media posted [before the rollout of this automated system] as missing”.
Following the most recent set of violent military strikes by the Israel Defense Forces that have leveled entire buildings in Gaza and left over 180 Palestinians dead, IGN posted an article linking to a variety of Palestinian charities and even gave a Palestinian flag prominence in its masthead. Sometime earlier today, all of that content, along with a tweet promoting the post, was removed with no indication as to why or if it will be republished at a later date.
Shortly after the IGN post went live yesterday, IGN Israel shared a statement on social media accounts owned by IGN Israel stating that it condemned the U.S. IGN article and tweet supporting Palestinian charities. At this time it’s unknown if IGN’s parent company, Ziff Davis, demanded this content be removed, or if the content was removed for another reason. As of this writing, the post and tweet remain deleted.
Another outlet that showed support for Palestine and its people was Game Informer. However, its article promoting charities was also removed today. As with IGN, there has been no public indication as to why this post was removed or if it will return.
eBay has announced that it will be closing the site’s “adult-only” section and banning the sale of most adult content and items, Adult Video News first reported Thursday.
In a new “Adult Items Policy” posted on eBay’s website, the e-commerce giant stated that “sexually-oriented” content including sexually explicit films, anime, and books would no longer be allowed on the platform. Furthermore, any items containing nudity will also be prohibited, and even modeled clothing that “is see-through or very tight and shows human genitalia, the anus, or the nipple/areola of female breasts” are a no-go.
In a statement to Motherboard, an eBay spokesperson said the move was in the interest of safety.
Instagram and Twitter have blamed technical errors for deleting posts mentioning the possible eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, but data rights groups fear “discriminatory” algorithms are at work and want greater transparency.
It came as a long-running legal case over evictions from homes in Sheikh Jarrah has fuelled tensions in Jerusalem where hundreds of Palestinians clashed with Israeli police on Monday.
By Monday, 7amleh, a nonprofit focused on social media, had received more than 200 complaints about deleted posts and suspended accounts related to Sheikh Jarrah.
“On Instagram, it was mostly content takedown, even archives from older stories were deleted. On Twitter, most cases were an account suspension,” said Mona Shtaya, an advocacy advisor at 7amleh.
Instagram and Twitter said the accounts were “suspended in error by our automated systems” and the issue had been resolved and content reinstated.
Instagram said in a statement that an automated update last week caused content re-shared by multiple users to appear as missing, affecting posts on Sheikh Jarrah, Colombia, and U.S. and Canadian indigenous communities.
“We are so sorry this happened. Especially to those in Colombia, East Jerusalem, and Indigenous communities who felt this was an intentional suppression of their voices and their stories – that was not our intent whatsoever,” Instagram said.
The Liberal-dominated House of Commons Heritage committee has cleared the way for the federal government to regulate video content on internet social media, such as YouTube, the same way it regulates national broadcasting, under a new amendment made to a bill updating the Broadcasting Act.
Critics denounced the move to give the country’s broadcast regulator the ability to oversee user-generated content, and said it amounted to an attack on the free expression of Canadians, particularly in light of Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault’s recent plans to give Ottawa power to order take-downs of online content it deems objectionable.
Facebook has temporarily hidden all posts with hashtag “ResignModi” in India, days after the U.S. social juggernaut — along with Twitter — complied with an order from New Delhi to censor some posts critical of Indian government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
On its website, Facebook said it had hidden posts with “ResignModi” hashtag because some of those violated its community standards. (A search for “ResignModi” is currently returning some results for users in the U.S.) It’s unclear at this time if Facebook was ordered to take this call or if it did so at its own will.
Tweets with “#ResignModi”, at the time of publication, were visible in India. With over 450 million WhatsApp users and nearly 400 million Facebook users, India is the largest market for the social company by the size of userbase.
Covid cases have surged in the South Asian nation in recent days, prompting many citizens to air their frustrations at the government on social channels as they struggle to find empty beds, oxygen supplies and medicines in hospitals.
The UK is a nightmare.