News
and Analysis

27 April 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Matthew Stender
Apr 27 2017

Thailand and Vietnam go after Facebook, Instagram goes after museums, and Twitter refuses to go after Trump...and more in this week's Takedown.


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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18 April 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Matthew Stender
Apr 20 2017

Facebook is under fire this week after a murder was broadcast on its Live platform.


12 April 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Matthew Stender
Apr 12 2017

This week's update shows how governments and corporate executives collaborate to limit access to content online.


31 March 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Ramzi Jaber
Mar 31 2017

A look at Twitter's latest transparency report and YouTube's new "restricted" mode...and more in this week's Takedown.


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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24 March 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Mar 24 2017

This week, we take a look at YouTube's latest restrictions and Twitter's takedown of more than half a million accounts.


15 March 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Mar 15 2017

In this week's update, we look at the censorship of sexuality across social media platforms.


1 March 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Mar 1 2017

In this latest edition of the Weekly Takedown, we look at Facebook's latest announcement, an apparent new policy at Twitter, and the effect of online censorship...


“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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2 February 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Feb 2 2017

In this week's update: Facebook admits to automated bans, the company's role in Poland, and the toll that commercial content moderation takes on its workers.


25 January 2017: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Jan 25 2017

The censorship of a Russian media outlet, pirates posting porn, and more in this week's Takedown.


The Weekly Takedown: 18 January 2017

Jillian C. York
Jan 18 2017

Censorship in Thailand, a lawsuit against Microsoft, and more in this week's Takedown.


...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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The Weekly Takedown: 11 January 2017

Jillian C. York
Jan 11 2017

This year's starting off on a censorious foot, with Apple blocking a popular news app in China. Find out more in this week's Takedown.


The Weekly Takedown: 7 December 2016

Jillian C. York
Dec 6 2016

Silicon Valley companies join forces against terrorism, one Chinese's company's quest to take censorship abroad, and more.


30 November 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Nov 30 2016

In this week's roundup, nudity and body image on Instagram, the "fake news" controversy, and why Facebook might be building a tool to censor in China.


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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23 November 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Nov 23 2016

After a brief hiatus, the Weekly Takedown is back...and just in time for mass suspensions on Twitter!


Onlinecensorship.org launches second report, "Censorship in Context" (PDF)

Jillian C. York
Nov 16 2016

Censorship in Context: Insights from Crowdsourced Data on Social Media Censorship


2 November 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Nov 2 2016

Facebook dominates the headlines this week, with a new report on how executives are involved in content controversies and a letter from more than 70 rights grou...


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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News, Interest and Intrigue: Parsing Facebook’s Latest Content Moderation Policy Announcement

Matthew Stender
Oct 26 2016

Facebook's latest announcement promises greater consideration of context in content moderation. Onlinecensorship.org's Matthew Stender takes a look at the news.


26 October 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Oct 26 2016

Will Facebook's new enforcement guidelines result in more freedom of expression on the platform?


Censorship against Palestinians brings Onlinecensorship.org back to its roots

Jessica Anderson
Oct 12 2016

News of an agreement between Facebook and the Israeli government shines a new light on the deactivation of several Palestinian editors' Facebook accounts.


12 October 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Oct 12 2016

In this week's roundup: the Brazilian government can't take a joke, Facebook's "mass purge" of Kashmiri accounts, and more...


5 October 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Matthew Stender
Oct 5 2016

Why did a cat photo result in a takedown? ...and other important questions in this week's roundup.


28 September 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Sep 28 2016

YouTube gamifies content moderation, Twitter refuses a takedown request, and more in this week's takedown.


21 September 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Sep 21 2016

Facebook's near-blanket ban on nudity remains a hot topic this week, while a new report on the company's censorship of French antiracists gives insight into the...


On Facebook, French Antiracists Fall Victim to Censorship

Guest
Sep 21 2016

Among those affected by Facebook censorship are activists in France fighting against racism.


14 September 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Sep 14 2016

Nudity on Facebook and Instagram feature heavily in this week's takedown.


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.


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...


7 September 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Sep 7 2016

This week, we look at algorithmic models to fight extremism, the growth of white nationalism on Twitter, and the ever-increasing censorship of Facebook pages an...


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.


1 September 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jessica Anderson
Sep 1 2016

In this week's takedown, we look at censorship in Turkey, protest against Facebook in the US, and a censored hand.


24 August 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Aug 24 2016

In this week's takedown, we look at the various ways in which companies are silencing political speech around the world.


August 11, 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Kim Carlson
Aug 11 2016

This week we look into issues surrounding the power balance between users and their platforms (and in some cases, the state).


4 August 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Kim Carlson
Aug 4 2016

In this week's update, we look at how Instagram is dealing with harassment on its platform, two political crises for Facebook and Twitter's future use of corpor...


27 July 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Jul 27 2016

In this week's update, we look at new features at Twitter, Facebook's block of a Wikileaks link, and more.


21 July: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Jul 21 2016

In this week's update: Facebook is accused of censoring Kashmiris, Twitter bans a journalist's account for racist and sexist tweets, and a 14-year-old blog myst...


The morality of social networks: how Facebook censors Trump and female sexuality equally (Spanish only)

Ana María Acosta
Jul 21 2016

Facebook luce así de “limpio” por la siguiente razón: cualquier contenido que no se ajuste a sus términos y condiciones de uso es removido.


Onlinecensorship.org Launches in Spanish

Kim Carlson
Jul 21 2016

We're thrilled to announce that as of today, our website is available in Spanish!


13 July 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Jul 13 2016

This week's headlines are filled with news about censorship on Facebook. We take a deeper look.


29 June 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Jun 29 2016

This week, we look at the relationship between art and social media, political censorship in the Philippines and Singapore, and whether companies are using auto...


22 June: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
Jun 22 2016

In this week's edition: Pressure from Bangladesh to remove "inappropriate speech," and removal of speech with no prodding at all.


15 June 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Sarah Myers West
Jun 15 2016

In this week's edition: Companies grapple with hate speech, and AI gets its day in the limelight.


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...


8 June 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jun 8 2016

In this week's edition: Bias against bodies, Israel seeks social media control, a Philippine journalist censored, and more.


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...


31 May 2016: The Weekly Takedown

May 31 2016

In this week's roundup: Pirate Bay founder calls Facebook's Zuckerberg a "dictator" and YouTube attempts to redefine pornography.


25 May 2016: How Facebook Can Shape Public Opinion

Jillian C. York
May 25 2016

In this week's roundup, we look at how Facebook can shape the way its users see the world.


17 May 2016: The Weekly Takedown

Jillian C. York
May 17 2016

Formerly known as "Last Week in Online Censorship," The Weekly Takedown shares stories of social media censorship from around the world.


Does social media have a censorship problem?

May 13 2016

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


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


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...


Onlinecensorship.org launches first report (PDF)

Mar 31 2016

Unfriending Censorship: Insights from four months of crowdsourced data on social media censorship


March 30, 2016: LGBT groups rejected from Facebook

Matthew Stender
Mar 30 2016

In this week's roundup: LGBTQ groups take issue with Facebook policies and


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’.


March 23, 2016: Politics and patriarchy

Jillian C. York
Mar 23 2016

In this week's roundup: A Turkish news site, topless women, childbirth imagery, an Indian political cartoon and more censored by Facebook.


March 15, 2016: Elective censorship

Matthew Stender
Mar 15 2016

In this week's roundup: Instagram and Facebook censor mockery of Donald Trump and a German breast cancer campaign encourages breaking Facebook's nudity ban.


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 ...


March 9, 2016: More transparency needed

Matthew Stender
Mar 9 2016

In this week's roundup: The ACLU calls for more transparency, and Facebook censors a sexual health video.


March 3, 2016: At the intersection of corporations and governments

Jillian C. York
Mar 3 2016

In this week's roundup: Facebook erases culture in Indonesia, and meetings between the US Justice Department and social media companies make headlines.


February 23, 2016: A diverse mix of entities all experience Facebook censorship

Matthew Stender
Feb 23 2016

In this week's roundup: A satirical magazine, marijuana dispensaries, and a Tunisian photographer all face Facebook censorship.


February 16, 2016: Facebook must face up to French censorship

Jillian C. York
Feb 16 2016

Each week, we will share a roundup of notable news articles related to censorship on social networks.


February 9, 2016: Facebook thinks ice cream cones are too sexy

Jillian C. York
Feb 9 2016

Each week, we will share a roundup of notable news articles related to censorship on social networks.


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 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.


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.


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’s disappearing act

Marianne Diaz
Dec 11 2015

Takedowns in Venezuela suggest its link-blocking function is used for political speech


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.


Social media, news, and the right to know

Jillian C. York
Nov 18 2015

The idea for Onlinecensorship.org was born in 2011, when Facebook took down a link posted by popular band Coldplay.


Between religion and the right to free expression

Sarah Myers West
Nov 18 2015

Arbitrating between religious values and the right to free expression requires a careful balancing act.


Facebook's guide to being a lady

Sarah Myers West
Nov 18 2015

A growing number of people are pushing back on double standards in the community guidelines and terms of service for many online platforms.


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.