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Category: #Censorship (Page 1 of 2)

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State Department monitoring internet outages in Iran amid protests

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The State Department on Wednesday said it was monitoring reports of internet outages and slowdowns in Iran amid ongoing anti-government protests spurred by a water shortage in the country. State …

Source: https://thehill.com/policy/international/565321-state-department-monitoring-internet-outages-in-iran-amid-protests
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Celine Castronuovo

Majority of Covid misinformation came from 12 people, report finds

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CCDH finds ‘disinformation dozen’ have combined following of 59 million people across multiple social media platforms

The vast majority of Covid-19 anti-vaccine misinformation and conspiracy theories originated from just 12 people, a report by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) cited by the White House this week found.

Related: ‘They’re killing people’: Biden slams Facebook for Covid disinformation

Continue reading…

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jul/17/covid-misinformation-conspiracy-theories-ccdh-report
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Erum Salam

TikTok blocked creators from using ‘Black Lives Matter’ in bios

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TikTok has reportedly blocked users of its newly rolled out Creator Marketplace from being able to use words and phrases including “Black” and “Black Lives Matter” in their bios, flagging the words as “inappropriate conte…

Source: https://thehill.com/homenews/media/562146-tiktok-blocked-creators-from-using-black-lives-matter-in-bios
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Cameron Jenkins

GOP’s Big Tech plan ignores consumers, targets “censorship” of Republicans instead

The Republican Party elephant symbol seen in a conference hall.

Enlarge / The Republican Party elephant symbol at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. (credit: Getty Images | Bloomberg)

Congressional Republicans released an antitrust plan for Big Tech yesterday with an announcement that made it clear their focus is not on boosting competition or reducing harms to online consumers but on alleged “censorship” of conservatives.

“Big Tech is out to get conservatives” is the first sentence in the “House Judiciary Republican Agenda for Taking on Big Tech.” The “conservative response” to tech-industry problems “will speed up and strengthen antitrust enforcement, hold Big Tech accountable for its censorship, and increase transparency around Big Tech’s decisions,” the opening paragraph continues. The word “competition” never appears in the two-page plan. A separate plan previously released by House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) does mention competition, but McCarthy’s plan also focuses mostly on supposed bias against conservatives.

The House Judiciary Republicans’ plan was released as former President Donald Trump sued Twitter, Facebook, and Google subsidiary YouTube for banning him, claiming that all three companies are guilty of “impermissible censorship” that violates “the First Amendment right to free speech.” Trump’s lawsuit has been widely mocked by legal experts and is almost certain to be defeated because the First Amendment does not require private companies to host speech and because Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives online platforms immunity from lawsuits over how they moderate user-submitted content.

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Source: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2021/07/gops-big-tech-plan-ignores-consumers-targets-censorship-of-republicans-instead/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Jon Brodkin

Experts say Trump’s social media lawsuits are likely doomed

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Legal experts and First Amendment scholars say former President Donald Trump’s class-action lawsuits announced Wednesday against Facebook, Twitter, Google, and their CEOs are unlikely to go far.

The big picture: That, according to some of these experts, suggests Trump’s chief aim is to fire up his supporters and fundraise off of their anger over what they see as censorship by Big Tech.


“This is not a lawsuit. It’s a fundraising grift,” said Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future, a progressive advocacy group that often targets Big Tech.

  • “There is no chance Trump’s lawsuits will do any better than the dozens that have preceded it, and Trump and his lawyers surely know that,” said Eric Goldman, associate dean and professor at Santa Clara University School of Law.
  • “Which raises the obvious question: if Trump doesn’t care if he wins in court, why did he bring the lawsuits at all?”

The Trump campaign did immediately start reaching out to supporters for fundraising after the former president revealed the lawsuits in a press conference Wednesday morning.

  • Trump’s joint fundraising committee sent out a text saying, “Pres Trump: I am SUING Facebook & Twitter for UNCONSTITUTIONAL CENSORSHIP,” adding “5X-IMPACT on all gifts!”

Details: The central argument made by the plaintiff is that social media platforms are “state actors,” and thus should be bound by the First Amendment’s free speech protections. First Amendment experts quickly dismissed the claim as destined to fail.

  • “The First Amendment simply protects citizens from government censorship,” said Syracuse University associate professor Roy Gutterman. “Social media platforms exercise great power, but they are not a branch of government.”

“In what constitutional universe can it be the case that Trump wasn’t a state actor when he blocked critics from his social media accounts but the social media companies were state actors when they blocked him?,” tweeted Jameel Jaffer, director of the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.

  • The Knight First Amendment Institute in 2017 filed a lawsuit on behalf of several people who were blocked by Trump on Twitter. A lower court sided with the plaintiff and argued that that Trump’s Twitter account constituted” as a “public forum” under the First Amendment, so he couldn’t block people.

Trump’s suits also suggest that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that gives tech platforms immunity for material third-party users post or say on their sites, is unconstitutional. Experts say the reference to Section 230 is irrelevant to the case.

  • “Section 230 can never be a defense to Trump’s allegations of First Amendment violations,”said Goldman. “Section 230 is a statute, which cannot modify the Constitution (amending the Constitution requires a more elaborate set of procedures; Congress can’t do it alone).”
  • “So the defendants in Trump’s cases will not assert Section 230 defenses. They will instead argue that they are not state actors  The courts will agree that the services aren’t state actors. This is not a close call.”

The big picture: As Axios has previously noted, the former president has filed many lawsuits throughout his career, but he has rarely taken cases all the way to court, and hasn’t won many of the cases that he has.

  • In fact, some of his lawsuits have actually led to historic legal precedents set by courts that create stronger First Amendment protections long-term.

The bottom line: “This is not the first time social media companies have been faced with these arguments, and in the past, they have won,” said Gutterman.

Source: https://www.axios.com/trump-social-media-lawsuits-doomed-experts-a9a021c7-fa78-47f3-9732-b99309c464ca.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sara Fischer

Exclusive: YouTube removed 30,000 videos with COVID misinformation

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YouTube has taken down more than 30,000 videos that made misleading or false claims about COVID-19 vaccines over the last six months, YouTube spokesperson Elena Hernandez said, offering the company’s first release of numbers for such content.

Why it matters: Multiple polls show that roughly 30% of Americans remain hesitant or suspicious of the vaccines, and many of those doubts have been stoked by online falsehoods and conspiracy theories.


What’s happening: Videos spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines are continuing to appear online as more and more Americans get vaccinated.

  • Platforms, including Facebook and Twitter, have rolled out policies to reduce the spread and reach of such content, but it’s an ongoing challenge.

Background: YouTube first started including vaccination misinformation in its COVID-19 medical misinformation policy in October 2020.

  • Since February 2020, YouTube has taken down more than 800,000 videos containing coronavirus misinformation. The videos are first flagged by either the company’s AI systems or human reviewers, then receive another level of review.
  • Videos that violate the vaccine policy, according to YouTube’s rules, are those that contradict expert consensus on the vaccines from health authorities or the World Health Organization.
  • Accounts that violate YouTube’s rules are subject to a “strike” system, which can result in accounts being permanently banned.

Our thought bubble: Platforms are eager to share data about the volume of misinformation they catch, and that transparency is valuable. But the most valuable data would tell us the extent of misinformation that isn’t caught.

Source: https://www.axios.com/youtube-removed-30000-covid19-vaccine-videos-misinformation-a8968086-95a4-4d5e-86da-0e22ddbc1b6a.html
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Ashley Gold

Twitter bans right-wing activist group Project Veritas

8cedc1e0-5bcc-11eb-9fed-2625e2ec6578Twitter has once again taken action against a group for violating its rules, although this time the circumstances are very different. The New York Times and The Verge report that Twitter has banned right-wing activist group Project Veritas for “…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/twitter-bans-project-veritas-171940989.html
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Twitter Blocks Hundreds of Accounts Tied to Protests by Farmers in India

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Twitter has blocked the accounts of at least 500 people and groups involved in the current protests by farmers in India at the request of the Indian government, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. Some of the accounts have even been permanently deleted.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/twitter-blocks-hundreds-of-accounts-tied-to-protests-by-1846237031
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Matt Novak

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