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  Silencing Middle Eastern news...

Saudi bans Al Jazzera from appearing on Snapchat app


Link Here 19th September 2017
aljazeera on snapchatAl Jazeera is Middle Eastern news service based in Qatar that competes with the likes BBC World News. It seems to provide a balanced view of world news, perhaps modelled on the BBC, as opposed to the more propaganda based services along the lines of RT from Russia.

Balanced reporting on Middle Eastern affairs doesn't seem to go down well in Middle Eastern countries, who clearly would prefer something a little more under their control. So these other countries are putting a lot of pressure on Qatar to silence Al Jazeera.

The latest example of such censorship pressure is that the social network service, Snap has been censored in Saudi Arabia over its inclusion of Al Jazeera in its Discover App.

Snap has now complied with Saudi censorship demands to remove news outlet Al Jazeera's curated content from its Discover Publisher Channels in Saudi Arabia. Discover is Snap's digital media selection of content tailored to a young audience.

Al Jazeera is less than thrilled. Acting Director-General Mostefa Souag said in a statement:

We find Snapchat's action to be alarming and worrying. This sends a message that regimes and countries can silence any voice or platform they don't agree with by exerting pressure on the owners of social media platforms and content distribution companies,  This step is a clear attack on the rights of journalists and media professionals to report and cover stories freely from around the world.

 

 Offsite Article: Searching for our true selves...


Link Here 17th September 2017
Google logo A study of Google searches suggests that we are not quite so politically correct on Google as we are in more public spaces

See article from newstatesman.com

 

 Update: Upload blocking...

EU set to release censorship demands for internet companies to proactively block uploads of copyrighted material


Link Here 16th September 2017  full story: Copyright in the EU...Copyright law for Europe

european commission logoCompanies including Google and Facebook could face repressive legislation if they don't proactively remove illegal content from their platforms that is deemed illegal. That's according to draft EU censorship rules due to be published at the end of the month, which will require internet service providers to significantly step up their actions to address the EU's demands.

In the current climate, creators and distributors are forced to play a giant game of whac-a-mole to limit the unlicensed spread of their content on the Internet.

The way the law stands today in the United States, EU, and most other developed countries, copyright holders must wait for content to appear online before sending targeted takedown notices to hosts, service providers, and online platforms.

After sending several billion of these notices, patience is wearing thin, so a new plan is beginning to emerge. Rather than taking down content after it appears, major entertainment industry groups would prefer companies to take proactive action. The upload filters currently under discussion in Europe are a prime example but are already causing controversy .

The guidelines are reportedly non-binding but further legislation in this area isn't being ruled out for Spring 2018, if companies fail to address the EU's demands.

Interestingly, however, a Commission source told Reuters that any new legislation would not change the liability exemption for online platforms. Maintaining these so-called safe harbors is a priority for online giants such as Google and Facebook 203 anything less would almost certainly be a deal-breaker.

The guidelines, due to be published at the end of September, will also encourage online platforms to publish transparency reports. These should detail the volume of notices received and actions subsequently taken. The guidelines contain some safeguards against excessive removal of content, such as giving its owners a right to contest such a decision.

 

  Stop SESTA...

Another US Congress attempt to censor the internet in the name of restricting sex trafficking


Link Here 15th September 2017

Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF opposes the Senate's Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act ( S. 1693 ) ("SESTA"), and its House counterpart the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act ( H.R. 1865 ), because they would open up liability for Internet intermediaries--the ISPs, web hosting companies, websites, and social media platforms that enable users to share and access content online--by amending Section 230's immunity for user-generated content ( 47 U.S.C. 230 ). While both bills have the laudable goal of curbing sex trafficking, including of minor children, they would greatly weaken Section 230's protections for online free speech and innovation .

Proponents of SESTA and its House counterpart view Section 230 as a broken law that prevents victims of sex trafficking from seeking justice. But Section 230 is not broken. First, existing federal criminal law allows federal prosecutors to go after bad online platforms, like Backpage.com, that knowingly play a role in sex trafficking. Second, courts have allowed civil claims against online platforms--despite Section 230's immunity--when a platform had a direct hand in creating the illegal user-generated content.

Thus, before Congress fundamentally changes Section 230, lawmakers should ask whether these bills are necessary to begin with.

Why Section 230 Matters

Section 230 is the part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that provides broad immunity to Internet intermediaries from liability for the content that their users create or post (i.e., user-generated content or third-party content).

Section 230 can be credited with creating today's Internet--with its abundance of unique platforms and services that enable a vast array of user-generated content. Section 230 has provided the legal buffer online entrepreneurs need to experiment with news ways for users to connect online--and this is just as important for today's popular platforms with billions of users as it is for startups.

Congress' rationale for crafting Section 230 is just as applicable today as when the law was passed in 1996: if Internet intermediaries are not largely shielded from liability for content their users create or post--particularly given their huge numbers of users--existing companies risk being prosecuted or sued out of existence, and potential new companies may not even enter the marketplace for fear of being prosecuted or sued out of existence (or because venture capitalists fear this).

This massive legal exposure would dramatically change the Internet as we know it: it would not only thwart innovation in online platforms and services, but free speech as well. As companies fall or fail to be launched in the first place, the ability of all Internet users to speak online would be disrupted. For those companies that remain, they may act in ways that undermine the open Internet. They may act as gatekeepers by preventing whole accounts from being created in the first place and pre-screening content before it is even posted. Or they may over-censor already posted content, pursuant to very strict terms of service in order to avoid the possibility of any user-generated content on their platforms and services that could get them into criminal or civil hot water. Again, this would be a disaster for online free speech. The current proposals to gut Section 230 raise the exact same problems that Congress dealt with in 1996.

By guarding online platforms from being held legally responsible for what thousands or millions or even billions of users might say online, Section 230 has protected online free speech and innovation for more than 20 years.

But Congress did not create blanket immunity. Section 230 reflects a purposeful balance that permits Internet intermediaries to be on the hook for their users' content in certain carefully considered circumstances, and the courts have expanded upon these rules.

Section 230 Does Not Bar Federal Prosecutors From Targeting Criminal Online Platforms

Section 230 has never provided immunity to Internet intermediaries for violations of federal criminal law --like the federal criminal sex trafficking statute ( 18 U.S.C. 1591 ). In 2015, Congress passed the SAVE Act, which amended Section 1591 to expressly include "advertising" as a criminal action. Congress intended to go after websites that host ads knowing that such ads involve sex trafficking. If these companies violate federal criminal law, they can be criminally prosecuted in federal court alongside their users who are directly engaged in sex trafficking.

In a parallel context, a federal judge in the Silk Road case correctly ruled that Section 230 did not provide immunity against federal prosecution to the operator of a website that hosted other people's ads for illegal drugs.

By contrast, Section 230 does provide immunity to Internet intermediaries from liability for user-generated content under state criminal law . Congress deliberately chose not to expose these companies to criminal prosecutions in 50 different states for content their users create or post. Congress fashioned this balance so that federal prosecutors could bring to justice culpable companies while still ensuring that free speech and innovation could thrive online.

However, SESTA and its House counterpart would expose Internet intermediaries to liability under state criminal sex trafficking statutes. Although EFF understands the desire of state attorneys general to have more tools at their disposal to combat sex trafficking, such an amendment to Section 230 would upend the carefully crafted policy balance Congress embodied in Section 230.

More fundamentally, it cannot be said that Section 230's current approach to criminal law has failed. A Senate investigation earlier this year and a recent Washington Post article both uncovered information suggesting that Backpage.com not only knew that their users were posting sex trafficking ads to their website, but that the company also took affirmative steps to help those ads get posted. Additionally, it has been reported that a federal grand jury has been empaneled in Arizona to investigate Backpage.com. Congress should wait and see what comes of these developments before it exposes Internet intermediaries to additional criminal liability.

Civil Litigants Are Not Always Without a Remedy Against Internet Intermediaries

Section 230 provides immunity to Internet intermediaries from liability for user-generated content under civil law--whether federal or state civil law. Again, Congress made this deliberate policy choice to protect online free speech and innovation.

Congress recognized that exposing companies to civil liability would put the Internet at risk even more than criminal liability because: 1) the standard of proof in criminal cases is "beyond a reasonable doubt," whereas in civil cases it is merely "preponderance of the evidence," making the likelihood higher that a company will lose a civil case; and 2) criminal prosecutors as agents of the government tend to exercise more restraint in filing charges, whereas civil litigants often exercise less restraint in suing other private parties, making the likelihood higher that a company will be sued in the first place for third-party content.

However, Section 230's immunity against civil claims is not absolute. The courts have interpreted this civil immunity as creating a presumption of civil immunity that plaintiffs can rebut if they have evidence that an Internet intermediary did not simply host illegal user-generated content, but also had a direct hand in creating the illegal content. In a seminal 2008 decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com held that a website that helped people find roommates violated fair housing laws by "inducing third parties to express illegal preferences." The website had required users to answer profile questions related to personal characteristics that may not be used to discriminate in housing (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, and the presence of children in the home). Thus, the court held that the website lost Section 230 civil immunity because it was "directly involved with developing and enforcing a system that subjects subscribers to allegedly discriminatory housing practices." Although EFF is concerned with some of the implications of the Roommates.com decision and its potential to chill online free speech and innovation, it is the law.

Thus, even without new legislation, victims of sex trafficking may bring civil cases against websites or other Internet intermediaries under the federal civil cause of action ( 18 U.S.C. 1595 ), and overcome Section 230 civil immunity if they can show that the websites had a direct hand in creating ads for illegal sex. As mentioned above, a Senate investigation and a Washington Post article both strongly indicate that Backpage.com would not enjoy Section 230 civil immunity today.

SESTA and its House counterpart would expose Internet intermediaries to liability under federal and state civil sex trafficking laws. Removing Section 230's rebuttable presumption of civil immunity would, as with the criminal amendments, disrupt the carefully crafted policy balance found in Section 230. Moreover, victims of sex trafficking can already bring civil suits against the pimps and "johns" who harmed them, as these cases against the direct perpetrators do not implicate Section 230.

Therefore, the bills' amendments to Section 230 are not necessary--because Section 230 is not broken. Rather, Section 230 reflects a delicate policy balance that allows the most egregious online platforms to bear responsibility along with their users for illegal content, while generally preserving immunity so that free speech and innovation can thrive online.

By dramatically increasing the legal exposure of Internet intermediaries for user-generated content, the risk that these bills pose to the Internet as we know it is real. Visit our STOP SESTA campaign page and tell Congress to reject S. 1693 and H.R. 1865 !

Offsite Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

15th September 2017  See  article from theverge.com

Google logoSESTA opens websites up to civil suits over user posts that promote sex trafficking. "What you're going to end up seeing is mass lawsuits," said Julie Samuels of Engine Advocacy, a nonprofit organization perhaps best known for its work around patent reform. She expressed concern that the lawsuits would sweep up legitimate good actors and end up crushing small startups.

It's obvious why companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter would fear SESTA. But most tech companies have been circumspect about their opposition to the bill, choosing to voice their concerns by proxy through trade groups like the Internet Association , which includes Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and Twitter among its members.

The problem, of course, is that they're taking a stand against a bill that purports to fight sex trafficking. "Obviously no one supports human trafficking," said Samuels. "But you're going to start to play with fire when you play with how the internet works."

...Read the full article from theverge.com

 

 Update: At a time when political correctness overrides truth...

Is it surprising that Facebook 'fact checking' doesn't seem to convince people much as to what is fake news?


Link Here 12th September 2017  full story: Fake News...Declining respect for the authorities is blamed on 'fake' news
yale logoFacebook touts its partnership with outside fact-checkers as a key prong in its fight against fake news, but a major new Yale University study finds that fact-checking and then tagging inaccurate news stories on social media doesn't work.

The study , reported for the first time by POLITICO, found that tagging false news stories as disputed by third party fact-checkers has only a small impact on whether readers perceive their headlines as true. Overall, the existence of disputed tags made participants just 3.7 percentage points more likely to correctly judge headlines as false, the study said.

The researchers also found that, for some groups--particularly, Trump supporters and adults under 26--flagging bogus stories could actually end up increasing the likelihood that users will believe fake news. This because not all fake stories are fact checked, and the absence of a warning tends to add to the credibility of an unchecked, but fake, story.

Researchers Gordon Pennycook & David G. Rand of Yale University write in their abstract:

Assessing the effect of disputed warnings and source salience on perceptions of fake news accuracy

What are effective techniques for combatting belief in fake news? Tagging fake articles with Disputed by 3rd party fact-checkers warnings and making articles' sources more salient by adding publisher logos are two approaches that have received large-scale rollouts on social media in recent months.

Here we assess the effect of these interventions on perceptions of accuracy across seven experiments [involving 7,534 people].

With respect to disputed warnings, we find that tagging articles as disputed did significantly reduce their perceived accuracy relative to a control without tags, but only modestly (d=.20, 3.7 percentage point decrease in headlines judged as accurate).

Furthermore, we find a backfire effect -- particularly among Trump supporters and those under 26 years of age -- whereby untagged fake news stories are seen as more accurate than in the control.

We also find a similar spillover effect for real news, whose perceived accuracy is increased by the presence of disputed tags on other headlines.

With respect to source salience, we find no evidence that adding a banner with the logo of the headline's publisher had any impact on accuracy judgments whatsoever.

Together, these results suggest that the currently deployed approaches are not nearly enough to effectively undermine belief in fake news, and new (empirically supported) strategies are needed.

Presented with the study, a Facebook spokesperson questioned the researchers' methodology--pointing out that the study was performed via Internet survey, not on Facebook's platform--and added that fact-checking is just one part of the company's efforts to combat fake news. Those include disrupting financial incentives for spammers, building new products and helping people make more informed choices about the news they read, trust and share, the spokesperson said.

The Facebook spokesman added that the articles created by the third party fact-checkers have uses beyond creating the disputed tags. For instance, links to the fact checks appear in related article stacks beside other similar stories that Facebook's software identifies as potentially false. They are powering other systems that limit the spread of news hoaxes and information, the spokesperson said.

 

 Update: Censor first, ask questions later... much later when it is all to late...

YouTube censorship by demonetisation proves punishing to those unfairly censored, especially to small players


Link Here 12th September 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
yutube limitedYouTube's algorithms, which are used to censor and demonetize videos on the platform, are killing its creators, according to a report.

Most of the initial censorship is left to algorithms, [which probably flag that a video should be censored as soon as it detects something politically incorrect], which presumably leads to the overcensorship underpinning the complaints].

Creators complain that YouTube has set up a slow and inefficient appeals system to counter cases of unfair censorship. Ad-disabled videos on YouTube must get 1,000 views in the span of seven days just to qualify for a review.

This approach hurts smaller YouTube channels, because it removes the ability for creators to make money on the most important stage of a YouTube video's life cycle: the first seven days, the report explains. Typically, videos receive 70% or more of their views in the first seven days, according to multiple creators.

Some of the platform's most popular creators, are saying that the majority of their videos are being affected, dramatically reducing their revenue. Last week, liberal interviewer Dave Rubin, who has interviewed dozens of prominent political figures, announced that a large percentage of his videos had been demonetized, cutting him off from being able to make money on the millions of views he typically gets, perhaps due to the politically incorrect leanings of his guests, eg Ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, former Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura, feminist activist and scholar Christina Hoff Sommers, and Larry King.

YouTube issued a response saying little, except that they hope the algorithms get better over time.

 

 Update: Perhaps Netflix and Amazon will have to age verify viewers of 18 rated films...

Parliamentary group considers widening the UK's internet porn censorship to other age restricted products sold on the internet


Link Here 8th September 2017
digital policy alliance logoThe UK is just about to introduce internet censorship for porn via onerous and economically unviable age verification requirements. In what may be a godsend for porn companies, a parliamentary group is considering widening the age verification requirements to a wider range of age restricted products sold on the internet. If a wider group of companies become involved in the requirements it may encourage a more technically feasible and cost effective solution to be found.

XBIZ writes that online companies that sell e-cigarettes, knives, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, which typically would require identification at brick-and-mortar stores, could be regulated under the law, which focused originally on mandatory age verification for the consumption of commercial adult content.

London attorney Myles Jackman, who also is the legal director of the Open Rights Group told XBIZ that the likely expansion of the Digital Economy Act to include other products and services sold online beyond pornography is predictably inevitable.

In fact, later this month the London-based Digital Policy Alliance, a cross party group of parliamentarians, plans on addressing the wider application of age-gating to other sectors at a formal meeting on September 19.

XBIZ also notes that the U.K. has yet to appoint an official regulator, although fingers have pointed to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to assume the role. A decision over the appointment will be announced in coming weeks.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship is good for us...


Link Here 7th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag Somehow the Russian government has persuaded many of its citizens to avoid websites and social media platforms that are critical of the government, a new study has found.

See article from phys.org

 

 Update: Virtually banned...

China jails seller of VPNs


Link Here 5th September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flagA man who sold VPN software via a website has been sentenced to nine months in prison by China's Supreme People's Court. The decision otes that the software supplied by the man allowed the public to circumvent China's Great Firewall while granting access to foreign websites.

Back in January, China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that it would take measures to strengthen network information security management and would embark on a nationwide Internet network access services clean-up.

One of the initial targets was reported as censorship-busting VPNs, which allow citizens to evade the so-called Great Firewall of China. Operating such a service without a corresponding telecommunications business license would constitute an offense, the government said.

Then early July, a further report suggested that the government would go a step further by ordering ISPs to block VPNs altogether.  Apple then banned VPN software and services from its app store.

With an effort clearly underway to target VPNs, news today from China suggests that the government is indeed determined to tackle the anti-censorship threat presented by such tools. According to local media, Chinese man Deng Mouwei who ran a small website through which he sold VPN software, has been sentenced to prison. He set up a website to sell VPNs. Just two products were on offer but this was enough to spring authorities into action.

 

 Update: Objectionable censorship...

YouTube introduce a new tier of censorship to restrict the reach of 'objectionable' videos


Link Here 2nd September 2017  full story: YouTube Censorship...YouTube censor videos by restricting their reach
yutube limitedYoutube has been introduced a new tier of censorship designed to restrict the audience for videos deemed to be inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.

The site is now putting videos into a limited state if they are deemed controversial enough to be considered objectionable, but not hateful, pornographic or violent enough to be banned altogether.

This policy was announced several months ago but has come into force in the past week, prompting anger among members of the YouTube community.

YouTube defines Limited Videos as follows:

Our Community Guidelines prohibit hate speech that either promotes violence or has the primary purpose of inciting hatred against individuals or groups based on certain attributes. YouTube also prohibits content intended to recruit for terrorist organizations, incite violence, celebrate terrorist attacks, or otherwise promote acts of terrorism. Some borderline videos, such as those containing inflammatory religious or supremacist content without a direct call to violence or a primary purpose of inciting hatred, may not cross these lines for removal. Following user reports, if our review teams determine that a video is borderline under our policies, it may have some features disabled.

These videos will remain available on YouTube, but will be placed behind a warning message, and some features will be disabled, including comments, suggested videos, and likes. These videos are also not eligible for ads.

Having features disabled on a video will not create a strike on your account.

Videos which are put into a limited state cannot be embedded on other websites. They also cannot be easily published on social media using the usual share buttons and other users cannot comment on them. Crucially, the person who made the video will no longer receive any payment.

Earlier this week, Julian Assange wrote: 

'Controversial' but contract-legal videos [which break YouTube's terms and conditions] cannot be liked, embedded or earn [money from advertising revenue].

What's interesting about the new method deployed is that it is a clear attempt at social engineering. It isn't just turning off the ads. It's turning off the comments, embeds, etc too. Everything possible to strangle the reach without deleting it.

 

 Update: No comment...

China's real name verification system for comments coupled with its economically unviable fees will spell an end to online comments


Link Here 1st September 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

global voices logo As of October 1, 2017, Chinese netizens who have not registered their user accounts with online platforms under a new real name system will not be able to post comments on online content, while bans await trouble-makers.

The Regulation on the Management of Internet Comments was announced by the Cyberspace Administration of China on August 25. The regulation specifies that platforms that provide services for netizens to comment on original content, including films, posts, online games or news, should force users to provide their authentic identity via an individual user account system before posting. Platform operators should not offer such services to those who have not verified their identity.

The regulation will dramatically reduce space for online comments as large number of unauthenticated users will not be able to write original posts and leave comments. Moreover, many platforms will be unable to bear the burden of the identity verification system.

According to Article 2 of the regulation, commenting services refer to websites, mobile applications, interactive platforms, news sites, and other social platforms that allow or facilitate users to create original content, reply to posts, leave comments on news threads or other items in the form of written text, symbols, emojis, images, voice messages or video.

The responsibilities of comment service operators, according to Article 5, include the verification of user identities, the setting up of a comment management system to pre-screen comments on news, preventing the spread of illegal information and reporting comments to the authorities.

Controversially, the regulation also specifies in Article 9 that comment service operators should manage their users by rating their social credit, an algorithm to measure a person's overall 'goodness' as a citizen.

Those with low credit should be blacklisted from posting and prevented from registering new accounts to use the service. At the same time, state, province and city-level cyberspace affairs offices will set up a management system to evaluate the overall social credit of comment service operators on a regular basis.

The Orwellian social credit system for regulating internet users' activities was revealed in 2014 and the Chinese government authorized a number of credit service agencies to collect, evaluate and manage peoples's credit information the following year.

According to the Chinese government's Planning Outline for the Construction of a Social Credit System , the system aims to measure and enhance 'trust' between and among government, commercial sectors and citizens and to strengthen sincerity in government affairs, commercial sincerity, social sincerity and the construction of judicial credibility. However, the allocation of individual credit is not transparent and the current regulation on comment services indicates that individual online speech is a key factor in its calculation.

Thus far only national and large-scale social media and content service operators have implemented real name registration and they have not introduced measures to penalize unauthenticated users beyond limiting the circulation of their posts.

The majority of small-to-medium-size local websites and forums have not implemented real name registration because they simply don't have the capital and infrastructure to do so. The new regulation compels such websites to shut down their interactive features.

Tech-blogger William Long who has discussed the issue with regulators in the past wrote in his blog:

I have discussed with the relevant authorities how small forums and websites can implement real name registration. Their view is, they can either shut the comment section down or ask their users to verify their identity by providing mobile phone verification codes.

Owners of small websites can only afford a few hundred yuan to hire a server. The cost of mobile verification is RMB 6 cents per message. They would have to spend RMB 6 yuan per 100 comments. If their competitors deliberately overload them by posting a few thousand comments a day, they will not be able to afford the cost [of verification]. In the end they will be forced to ban comments.

 

 Update: VPN use to be noted...

Swedish parliament looks to expand mass internet snooping


Link Here 31st August 2017  full story: Internet Snooping in Sweden...Sweden enacts law to monitor all communications
sweden parliament logoSwedish parliament proposals for an extension to mass internet snooping have been leaked local ISP Bahnhof.

Sweden's government wants to extend the holding period under existing data retention legislation. Today, providers have to retain users' IP address information for six months, but a submission to the inquiry asks that be raised to 10 months.

The use of VPNs is also under fire with a demand that ISPs log the first activation of each new anonymisation service.

There's also talk of demanding providers rework their networks to reduce sharing of IP addresses between users.

Bahnhof CEO Jon Karlung writes that it looks like Sweden is imitating China, where the state requires the network to be tailor-made for monitoring, not for the internet to work as well as possible.

Rick Falkvinge of Private Internet Access writes that Sweden is ignoring a 2014 European Court of Justice ruling against data retention , instead doubling down on the forbidden concept of surveillance of people who are not currently any suspicion.

 

 Update: But does 'fake' now mean opinions not approved by the mainstream media...

Facebook ramps up its censorship to pages that share supposed 'fake news'


Link Here 30th August 2017  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logoFacebook has revealed new plans to censor supposed 'fake news'. It has announced that any pages which are flagged for hosting stories that are considered unpolitically correct will be banned from buying advertising to publicise themselves.

A group of third party fact checkers will be tasked with highlighting these pages.

In a statement, Satwik Shukla and Tessa Lyons, who are both product managers, wrote:

Currently, we do not allow advertisers to run ads that link to stories that have been marked false by third-party fact-checking organizations. Now we are taking an additional step.

If Pages repeatedly share stories marked as false, these repeat offenders will no longer be allowed to advertise on Facebook.

This update will help to reduce the distribution of false news which will keep Pages that spread false news from making money.

 

 Offsite Article: The regressive left is now in control of the media...


Link Here 30th August 2017
cloudfare logo The far right is losing its ability to speak freely online. Should the left defend it? By Julia Carrie Wong

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: Protesting against laws to block website unblocking...

Russian protest in Moscow against repressive new internet controls


Link Here 29th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flagAbout 1,000 Russians demonstrated in Moscow on 26th August against repressive government controls on Internet use. They shouted slogans such as Russia will be free and Russia without censorship ,.

In July, Russia's parliament voted to outlaw web tools that let Internet users sidestep official bans of certain websites.  It allows telecommunications censor Roskomnadzor to compile a list of so-called anonymiser services and prohibit any that fail to respect the bans, while also requiring users of online messaging services to identify themselves with a telephone number.

 

 Offsite Article: How Blockchain Is Reinventing Your News Feed...


Link Here 29th August 2017
snip logo Internet ideas to wrest control of news feeds from the likes of Google and Facebook

See article from forbes.com

 

 Commented: Heavy handed...

The authorities seems to have been spooked by the Charlottesville troubles and have decided to ratchet up penalties for internet insults on social media


Link Here 26th August 2017
Crown Prosecution ServiceThe Director of public prosecutions has announced plans for more prosecutions and harsher punishments for online insult. Prosecutors will be ordered to treat online hate crime as seriously as offences carried out face to face.

Alison Saunders said the Crown Prosecution Service will seek stiffer penalties for abuse on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. Saunders says the crackdown is needed because online abuse can lead to the sort of extremist hate seen in Charlottesville in the United States last weekend, which left one person dead.

Writing in the Guardian, Saunders said:

Left unchallenged, even low-level offending can subsequently fuel the kind of dangerous hostility that has been plastered across our media in recent days. That is why countering it is a priority for the CPS.

The new policy documents cover different strands of hate crime: racist and religious; disability; and homophobic, biphobic and transphobic. They also say that victims of biphobic hate crime, aimed at bisexual people, have different needs and experiences compared to those suffering anti-gay and transphobic offences.

Offsite Comment: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

23rd August 2017 See  article from thesun.co.uk

sun newspaper logoFree speech lawyer Myles Jackman, of the Open Rights Group, said:

It's incredibly clumsy guidance and a strict interpretation is chilling.

Robust discourse in a civilised society is essential and means people sometimes disagreeing in very strong terms.

Social media is a minefield and people can be wholly unpleasant in a friendly way.

Offsite Video: A clamp down on free speech

23rd August 2017 See  video from youtube.com

Hate Crime' Crackdown by TheBritisher

 

Spiked logoOffsite Comment: We don't need the state to police hate

26th August 2017 See  article from spiked-online.com by Naomi Firshtstaff

Let's trust citizens, not officials, to challenge prejudice online.

 

 Updated: Dreaming of a right to protest in the USA...

US government is bullying an internet company to obtain personal details of those involved in a protest against Donald Trump.


Link Here 24th August 2017
dreamhost logoThe US internet company DreamHost is fighting government demands for it to hand over details of millions of activists.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) wants all visitors' IP addresses - some 1.3 million - to a website that helped organise a protest on the day of President Trump's inauguration. In addition to the IP addresses, DreamHost said that the DoJ requested the contact information, email content and photos of thousands of visitors.

DreamHost is currently refusing to comply with the request and is due in court on 18th August,

In a blog post on the issue, DreamHost said that, like many other online service providers, it was regularly approached by law enforcement about customers who may be the subject of criminal investigations. But, it added, it took issue with this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand.

Civil liberties group The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is helping DreamHost fight its case, said: No plausible explanation exists for a search warrant of this breadth, other than to cast a digital dragnet as broadly as possible.

Update: Government data demand narrowed down a little

24th August 2017 See  article from theregister.co.uk

doj logoThe US Department of Justice has eased up in its legal fight against hosting company DreamHost, saying it no longer wants all IP logs associated with a Trump protest site.

That is not the end of the matter, however. The DoJ still wants records related to what it suspects was the planned coordination of illegal acts. It has slightly limited the request to a six-month window ending on the day of the protest itself, to subscribers of the site as opposed to simple visitors, and it has said it does not want draft blog posts or images.

 

 Update: Dangerous Thailand...

The Vogue for Thailand making commonplace social media postings into a criminal offence


Link Here 19th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking
vogue august 2017Vogue fashion magazine has been reporting on the dangers of social media posts that contain images which included alcohol brands. Vogue magazine writes:

Tourists might not realize as they make their guidebook-mandated pilgrimage to nightlife hotspots like Khao San Road, is that despite the country's many Full Moon parties and bar girls, alcohol advertising is illegal. And posting a photo on social media of your beer by the beach could count as advertising.

Recently police have begun to strictly enforce 2008's Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, which bans displaying the names or logos of products in order to induce people to drink such alcoholic beverages, either directly or indirectly.

Last month, police announced their intention to more closely patrol social media and charge those found breaking the law. That means even if your favorite actress wasn't being paid for her endorsement and really was just sharing a photo with a drink by the pool or on a night out, she could find herself facing a 50,000 baht (about $1,500 USD) fine for indirectly inducing drinking.

Earlier this month, eight local celebrities were fined for posting selfies with alcoholic drinks on social media, with Thai Asia Pacific Brewery and Boon Rawd Brewery Co. (the producer of Singha beer) also implicated in the case. But police aren't just monitoring the accounts of the rich and famous -- at the beginning of August, three bar girls found themselves arrested after making a Facebook Live video inviting people to come enjoy a beer promotion.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship Ratchet...


Link Here 19th August 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Weibo logo China launches criminal investigation of major internet companies suspecting that they are not censoring social media users enough

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