Tools for reporting abuse on social media are necessary, but can become a double-edged sword.
A team of researchers from Harvard and the UC San Diego uncovered the secrets of Chinese censorship by creating their own social network.
After militants tweeted about the boon of social networks, Iraq has blocked access to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and messaging apps.
A Detroit-area judge will decide whether or not to ban one man’s Facebook posts that criticize McDonald’s class action settlement with members of the area’s Muslim community.
The Chinese government has blocked Google+ and other Google products while the Communist Party holds its 18th Party Congress in Beijing. In addition to users in China receiving an error message when they attempt to access Google-owned sites, foreign website owners will not be able to track Chinese visitors through Google Analytics. Our Google+ analytics tool, GPlusData, showed a drop-off in the number of posts on the social network beginning on November 8, when the congress began.
Inspired by Google, Twitter has partnered with Web accessibility startup Herdict to fight censorship and ensure privacy on the Internet. On Monday, the company released a Transparency Report that lists every copyright complaint or government request for information and whether content had to be removed as a result.
Iran announced Thursday that they will be setting up a national Intranet and blocking sites like Google Plus, Yahoo, Google and Hotmail to establish a “clean internet”. Whether the goal is cleanliness or suppression is debatable, but this does mean that many of these American services will be replaces with government services like Iran Mail and Iran Search Engine.
The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is standing up to PayPal, who has recently been cutting off payments to digital booksellers that sell eBooks that include rape, incest and bestiality. Last month, digital publishing site Smashwords updated its policy, requiring certain restrictions to erotica content published on its site, because of pressure from PayPal.
Comparing PayPal’s policy to the other censorship movements such as the Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books and the film industry’s Hays code, ABFFE and NCAC wrote in a letter to eBay (PayPal’s parent company): “The commitment to free speech is firmly embedded in our society, legally and culturally. Those who find sexual (or any other kind of) content disturbingor immoral don’t have to buy it, but it is widely accepted that they have no right to impose their views on others, or to expect society at large to adopt their perspective.”
Recently, Reddit announced that despite their adamant stance towards free speech, they would be banning sites that had obscene content relating to children. Possibly taking a cue from that move, Tumblr has decided to ban some content on their site, specifically that related to self harm. In a post on their blog, they mention that sometimes “Tumblr gets used for things that are just wrong.” This underscores the responsibility that comes with a public, free social networking service — at some point you need to monitor content to maintain the nature of the site.
After a prolonged district court case ordered Google to take down images that may be offensive to Muslims, Google has agreed to do just that, and has began to censor its search results to remove offensive images. Facebook and Yahoo, also named in the case, are sticking to their guns and saying that they can’t police the content of their sites as that content is uploaded by users.