News
and Analysis

Facebook backs down, will no longer censor the iconic ‘Napalm Girl’ war photo

Washington Post
Sep 11 2016

Our Matthew Stender spoke to the Washington Post about Facebook's decision to stop banning the iconic 'Napalm Girl' war photo.


Onlinecensorship.org, for me, was about drawing attention to how social media censorship disproportionately affects marginalized communities. The communities that could most benefit from protected spaces online are being excluded from participation.

Ramzi Jaber

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You Need to Care About Facebook Censoring an Iconic Vietnam War Photo

Sep 9 2016

Nick Ut’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of nine-year-old Kim Phúc fleeing from a napalm attack during the Vietnam war is one of the most iconic pieces of ph...


Blocked and banned by social media: When is it censorship?

San Francisco Chronicle
Aug 30 2016

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Marissa Lang explores whether bans on social media platforms ever amount to censorship.


Facebook Removed a Stanford Rapist Meme and Users Are Pissed

Gizmodo
Jun 9 2016

Several Facebook users have taken to the platform to complain that their posts about convicted rapist Brock Turner—whose treatment and sentencing has drawn wide...


Of course we should be able to use social networks to protest against puritanical views about women’s bodies. And we need to defy the idea that the only acceptable images of women are those selected to suit the male gaze, or that men (or tech firms!) can be the ones to decide whether our nipples are sexual or not.

Leigh Alexander

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European Commission's Hate Speech Deal With Companies Will Chill Speech

EFF
Jun 3 2016

A new agreement between the European Commission and four major U.S. companies—Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Microsoft—went into effect yesterday.


Mark Zuckerberg is ‘dictator’ of Facebook ‘nation’: The Pirate Bay founder

CNBC
May 27 2016

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg is the "dictator" of "the biggest nation in the world", the co-founder of file sharing site The Pirate Bay, told CNBC on Friday, a...


Does social media have a censorship problem?

May 13 2016

Index on Censorship spoke with team members Jillian C. York and Matthew Stender.


“Having not received a report we aren't sure which Facebook community standard we violated, though I presume the fact we are swearing, wearing latex gloves and suggestively fondling fruit may have something to do with it. I'm not here to say we didn't break any rules; indeed, I don't know if we did because I didn't get an explanation. The thing is, the rules are unreasonable, and inconsistently policed.”

Maeve Marsden

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Censored or not? Which images failed - and passed - the Facebook test

The Sydney Morning Herald
May 6 2016

While Facebook and Instagram make their stances on naked flesh relatively clear, where and when they enact their nipple and nudity censorship have become infamo...


Facebook cracks down on Kurdish content

The Ferret
Apr 19 2016

Facebook has banned Glasgow Girl Roza Salih for posting a photo of imprisoned Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan alongside a quote that read: “Liberating life is im...


The Secret Rules of the Internet

The Verge
Apr 16 2016

The murky history of moderation, and how it’s shaping the future of free speech


...before this when content was removed from Facebook users got a notice saying it had been flagged as inappropriate or that it somehow violated terms of service, indicating that the takedown came from another user’s report. Location-based blocking of videos and content for political reasons has usually come from the government via DNS-based blocking or similar practices, never from social media companies themselves.

Marianne Diaz Hernandez

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Facebook Is Embroiled In A Row With Activists Over “Censorship”

Buzzfeed
Apr 14 2016

Facebook is embroiled in a row with a group of British activists who say it is “censoring” material that might offend the Turkish government.


Facebook Is Struggling To Control Groups Of Men Sharing Revenge Porn

Buzzfeed
Apr 14 2016

Two private groups for residents of Melbourne, Australia, are involved in a bitter online war involving racist comments, drugs, and “revenge” porn that Facebook...


Facebook’s censorship of Aboriginal bodies raises troubling ideas of ‘decency’

The Guardian
Mar 23 2016

Facebook happily hosts Kim Kardashian’s cleavage, but suspended users posting images of topless Aboriginal women for ‘violating community standards’.


If social media companies control both the medium and the message—without oversight or transparency—they take the leap from a being a ‘walled garden’ to a selectively clear-cut forest.

Jillian C. York

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Why did Facebook censor this sexual health video we made?

Daily Life
Mar 8 2016

I didn't want to write an article about censorship. I wanted to write an article about how a group of feminist cabaret singers of diverse sizes and sexualities ...


The big myth Facebook needs everyone to believe

Washington Post
Jan 28 2016

Facebook says its community standards are inert, universal, agnostic to place and time.


Why artist Shelby Sells can’t stop getting censored

Detroit Metro Times
Jan 27 2016

Shelby Sells is an artist whose "glitterotica" images—vintage porn digitally superimposed with sparkles—are regularly censored from social media.


Facebook content guidelines are indicative of a normative perspective on women that is simultaneously both sanitized and sexualized.

Sarah Myers West

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Facebook Censors a Bushwick Gallery Over Artist’s Toilet-Squatting Stunt

Bedford + Bowery
Jan 26 2016

Gallery owner Christopher Stout found his Facebook account frozen after posting an image of performance artist Lisa Levy sitting nude on a toilet.


Censorship in the social media age

Columbia Journalism Review
Jan 21 2016

Social media platforms dominate today’s information ecosystem.


On Criticising Charlie Hebdo, and the Perils of Selective Freedom of Speech

Global Voices
Jan 20 2016

The author received a takedown notice from Facebook 24 hours after posting about Charlie Hebdo.


Why Google Quit China—and Why It’s Heading Back

The Atlantic
Jan 19 2016

When American Internet companies do business abroad, they are sometimes forced to do a repressive government’s dirty work.


Facebook begins Europe-wide campaign against extremist posts

Reuters
Jan 18 2016

Facebook Inc began a Europe-wide campaign on Monday to thwart extremist posts on social media.


Silicon Valley appears open to helping US spy agencies after terrorism summit

The Guardian
Jan 8 2016

Obama administration acknowledges ‘complicated first amendment issues’ after top counter-terrorism officials traveled to California to woo technology executives...


Why Did Facebook Censor Copenhagen's Little Mermaid?

artnet news
Jan 5 2016

There's much ado in Denmark this week after Facebook allegedly censored a photograph of the little mermaid statue.


Facebook apologises for marking story as spam

The Indian Express
Nov 26 2015

Facebook has clarified that a report from TheWire.in was mistakenly labelled as spam and has since been restored.


Twitter Has Censored Gory Images of the Paris Attacks

Mother Jones
Nov 19 2015

Over the past three days, Twitter has been preventing its users in France from viewing certain images and keywords related to the Paris attacks.


Is Twitter censoring a report on drone assassinations?

MOTHERBOARD
Oct 19 2015

“It seems clear that Twitter is now engaged in censorship,” Appelbaum wrote me in an email. “Censorship without transparency is a deceptive practice."


Zuckerberg talks to Merkel about hate speech

TECHDIRT
Sep 30 2015

It's the age-old question on matters of free speech: how do we handle speech the public generally finds unacceptable?


Privatizing censorship in fight against extremism is risk to press freedom

COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS
Oct 16 2015

Allowing ill-defined "extremist" content to be removed without judicial oversight or due process can too easily be used by states interested in limiting indepen...


Facebook is accused of censoring investigative journalism

GLOBALPOST
Oct 15 2015

"It's just the latest international case of alleged censorship by Facebook, which internet activists accuse of lacking transparency over what content it takes d...


#mynameis coalition takes "fake name" protest to Facebook HQ

SF WEEKLY
Jun 1 2015

The #MyNameIs coalition says that Facebook's policy of requiring people to use its service under their "legal" name is discriminatory.


What does censoring nude art say about us?

GLOBAL VOICES
Apr 16 2015

The nude, one of the oldest and most recurrent subjects in the art world, has led to the suspension of many Facebook accounts over the years.


Instagram bans photos for showing menstruation

FEMINISTING
Mar 27 2015

In taking down Kaur’s photos, Instagram promotes a long tradition of shaming people who menstruate, as though their bodies are naturally dirty.