Tag Archives: Censorship

Will Facebook respect international rights or the whims of angry rulers?

A muddle of decisions indicates that Facebook and its ‘Supreme Court’ are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights

By Linda Bonyo   Published 10-18-2021 by openDemocracy

Photo: Louis Jadwong/Twitter

Facebook’s ‘Trump ban’ received breathless coverage earlier this year, when the Facebook Oversight Board (FOB) – the supposedly independent entity established by the tech giant to adjudicate its content decisions – ‘ruled’ that the former president’s ban from the social media site should be upheld.

Experts from WIRED’s Gilad Edelman to scholar Kate Klonick have used the Trump decision to argue that the FOB is working.

But buried amidst that coverage – and that surrounding Facebook’s botched handling of COVID disinformation – are a muddle of decisions indicating that Facebook and its Oversight Board are making little progress towards a consistent policy on human rights. In fact, they may be headed towards a showdown. Continue reading

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Press Freedom Advocates Condemn ‘Reckless’ US Shutdown of Iranian News Sites

“These are not actions of good faith negotiators.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2021

Attempts in the United States to access some websites owned by or linked to the Iranian government were met with this message on June 22, 2021. (Photo: screenshot)

Press freedom advocates fumed Tuesday as U.S. authorities without immediate explanation reportedly blocked stateside access to numerous news websites owned by or linked to the Iranian government.

An unnamed U.S. official speaking on condition of anonymity told the Associated Press that around three dozen websites were seized due to their alleged dissemination of “disinformation.” Continue reading

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Sheryl Sandberg and Top Facebook Execs Silenced an Enemy of Turkey to Prevent a Hit to the Company’s Business

Amid a 2018 Turkish military campaign, Facebook ultimately sided with Turkey’s demand to block the page of a mostly Kurdish militia. “I am fine with this,” Sandberg wrote.

By Jack Gillum and Justin Elliott.  Published 2-24-2021 by ProPublica

Sheryl Sandberg. Photo: World Economic Forum/flickr/CC

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox.

As Turkey launched a military offensive against Kurdish minorities in neighboring Syria in early 2018, Facebook’s top executives faced a political dilemma.

Turkey was demanding the social media giant block Facebook posts from the People’s Protection Units, a mostly Kurdish militia group the Turkish government had targeted. Should Facebook ignore the request, as it has done elsewhere, and risk losing access to tens of millions of users in Turkey? Or should it silence the group, known as the YPG, even if doing so added to the perception that the company too often bends to the wishes of authoritarian governments? Continue reading

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‘No One Can Censor Reality’: Human Rights Group Pushes Back After Israel Retaliates Against ‘Apartheid’ Label

“Israel cannot be considered a democracy, for it works to advance and perpetuate the supremacy of one group of people, Jews, over another, Palestinians.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-18-2021

Palestinian workers queue up along the separation barrier often called the apartheid wall by critics as they wait to clear an Israeli military checkpoint. (Photo: delayed gratification/Flickr/cc)

The prominent Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem on Monday defiantly defended its position that Israel is an apartheid state after the country’s education minister banned members of groups that call the Jewish state “false, derogatory names” from entering its schools.

Last week, B’Tselem published a position paper that cited “a wide array of Israeli policies” it said are “advancing and perpetuating the supremacy of one group—Jews—over another—Palestinians” before concluding that “we must look at the full picture and see it for what it is: apartheid.” Continue reading

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Anger and Confusion After Facebook Suspends Environmental and Indigenous Groups’ Accounts Ahead of Pipeline Protest

“Facebook is actively suppressing those who oppose fascism and the colonial capitalists,” said one First Nations activist.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-22-2020

Wet’suwet’en Solidarity Event – Rail Yard near Pioneer Village Station Blockaded – Vaughan, Toronto, Ontario – February 15, 2020. Photo: Jason Hargrove/flickr/CC

Environmental groups reacted with confusion and anger after Facebook temporarily suspended their accounts over the weekend, just days after the social media giant announced an initiative aimed at combating climate misinformation.

The Guardian reports some of the largest and most respected progressive groups—including Greenpeace USA, Rainforest Action Network, and Climate Hawks Vote—were among the hundreds of accounts of Indigenous, climate, and social justice organizations that Facebook suspended. Continue reading

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What ACLU Says Was Trump Call to “Literally Murder Protesters,” Facebook Says Doesn’t Violate Standards

“Facebook has once again failed to act against an explicit violation of its own rules and has allowed the violent and racist post to remain up.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-30-2020

Photo: Anthony Quintano/flickr/CC

Civil rights advocates are condemning Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg over a decision announced late Friday to let stand a post by President Donald Trump that threatened to have the U.S. National Guard open fire on demonstrators in Minneapolis enraged over the police killing of George Floyd.

While the ACLU earlier on Friday condemned the social media post by Trump—a message that was shared on both Twitter and Facebook—as “hypocritical, immoral, and illegal” and nothing less than a call to “literally murder protesters,” Zuckerberg in his statement said Facebook “decided to leave it up because the National Guard references meant we read it as a warning about state action, and we think people need to know if the government is planning to deploy force.” Continue reading

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US Military Building Presence in Saudi Arabia for First Time in 17 Years

Some 2,500 US troops have arrived at their new home for the foreseeable future, the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.

By Alan Macleod   Published 2-28-2020 by MintPress News

Royal Saudi Air Force’s Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Shablan, Prince Sultan Air Base installation commander, and Chief Master Sgt. Brent Chadick, 378th Air Expeditionary Wing command chief, escort U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a tour of Prince Sultan Air Base, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Feb. 20, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Michael Charles)

Amid rising tensions with Iran, the United States is increasing its military presence in Saudi Arabia- separated from the Islamic Republic by only the Persian Gulf. Some 2,500 troops have arrived at their new home, the Prince Sultan Air Base, some 60 km southeast of Riyadh. On Iran, General John Walker, commander of the 378th Air Expeditionary Wing at the base, said: “We face a thinking enemy that is playing a real regional conflict for keeps, and they’re very good.”

While the U.S. government has not given any indication of how long it expects its forces to be there, temporary structures are being replaced with more substantial ones, and the arrival of fighter jets suggests they are there for the long haul. Roads are also being resurfaced to and from the base. Continue reading

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Biolab for “Most Dangerous Pathogens on Earth” Opened in Wuhan Before Outbreak

23 million people in China “are effectively under quarantine” due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly new virus in Wuhan.

By John Vibes Published 1-23-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

As of Thursday afternoon, 23 million people in seven Chinese cities have been placed on quarantine due to the sudden outbreak of a deadly SARS-like virus called 2019-nCoV.

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US Clearing Anti-War Voices Off Social Media in Vast Censorship Operation

The Trump administration is ramping up its information war by suspending accounts and removing content.

By Darius Shahtahmasebi. Published 1-14-2020 by The Mind Unleashed

Instagram and its parent company Facebook are removing posts that appear to be in support of the late Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in order to comply with U.S. sanctions, a company spokesperson recently told CNN.

We operate under U.S. sanctions laws, including those related to the U.S. government’s designation of the IRGC and its leadership,” the spokesperson said in a statement. Continue reading

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‘Naked Attack on the Free Press’: Trump Allies Reportedly Raising $2 Million for Campaign to Discredit Journalists

“Intimidating reporters to influence coverage is a tactic of dictators and has no place here,” said Sen. Jeff Merkley

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-3-2019

Donald Trump talks to the press in October of 2018. Screenshot: Fox News

Right-wing operatives allied with President Donald Trump are attempting to raise at least $2 million to fund a campaign to discredit journalists and editors at major U.S. media outlets like the Washington Post, Buzzfeed, New York Times, and HuffPost.

That’s according to a three-page fundraising pitch for the effort reviewed by Axios, which reported Tuesday that the group of Trump allies “claims it will slip damaging information about reporters and editors to ‘friendly media outlets,’ such as Breitbart, and traditional media, if possible.” Continue reading

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