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Category Archives: Censorship

Facebook Response to Chairman John Thune’s letter on Trending Topics

Colin Stretch, Facebook General Counsel – News Release: “Last week we met with Chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee John Thune to describe our investigation in response to anonymous allegations of political bias in our Trending Topics feature and to discuss the preliminary results of our work. Today, we sent Chairman Thune a follow up letter setting out our findings and conclusions. As we explain there, suppressing political content or preventing people from seeing what matters most to them is directly contrary to our mission and our business objectives and the allegations troubled us deeply. We are proud of the platform and community we have created, and it is important to us that Facebook continues to be a platform for all ideas. As soon as we heard of these allegations, we initiated an investigation into the policies and practices around Trending Topics to determine if anyone working on the product acted in ways that are inconsistent with our policies and mission. We spoke with current reviewers and their supervisors, as well as a cross-section of former reviewers; spoke with our contractor; reviewed our guidelines, training, and practices; examined the effectiveness of our oversight; and analyzed data on the implementation of our guidelines by reviewers. We also talked to leading conservatives, to gain valuable feedback and insights. Our investigation has revealed no evidence of systematic political bias in the selection or prominence of stories included in the Trending Topics feature. Our data analysis indicated that conservative and liberal topics are approved as trending topics at virtually identical rates. We were also unable to substantiate any of the specific allegations of politically-motivated suppression of particular subjects or sources. In fact, we confirmed that most of the subjects mentioned in media reports were included as trending topics on multiple occasions…”

The Guardian – How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers

Mark Hertsgaard – The Guardian – “By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did. He leaked top-secret documents revealing that the National Security Agency was spying on hundreds of millions of people across the world, collecting the phone calls and emails of virtually everyone on Earth who used a mobile phone or the internet.Continue Reading

GAO Reports – Medicare, Military Readiness, Nuclear Security, DC, DOD Advertising, Human Rights in Egypt

Medicare: Claim Review Programs Could Be Improved with Additional Prepayment Reviews and Better Data, GAO-16-394: Published: Apr 13, 2016. Publicly Released: May 13, 2016. Military Readiness: DOD Needs to Incorporate Elements of a Strategic Management Planning Framework into Retrograde and Reset Guidance, GAO-16-414: Published: May 13, 2016. Publicly Released: May 13, 2016. Nuclear Security: StatusContinue Reading

California’s Legislature Wants to Copyright All Government Works

Via Ernesto Falcon – EFF: “AB 2880 will give state and local governments dramatic powers to chill speech, stifle open government, and harm the public domain. The California Assembly Committee on Judiciary recently approved a bill (AB 2880) to grant local and state governments’ copyright authority along with other intellectual property rights. At its core,Continue Reading

Public Opinion toward Internet Freedom in Asia: A Survey of Internet Users from 11 Jurisdictions

Public Opinion toward Internet Freedom in Asia: A Survey of Internet Users from 11 Jurisdictions, May 4, 2016. Fei Shen, Lokman Tsui “This paper, which is being released as part of the Berkman publications series in conjunction with the Digital Asia Hub, summarizes the findings from a survey of Asian Internet users. The purpose ofContinue Reading

WSJ – Librarian Who Saved Timbuktu’s Cultural Treasures From al Qaeda

“A middle-aged book collector in Mali helped keep the fabled city’s libraries, books and manuscripts safe from occupying jihadists…”

Onlinecensorship.org Launches Inaugural Report

Via EFF: “We’re proud to announce today’s release of Onlinecensorship.org’s first report looking at how content is regulated by social media companies. Onlinecensorship.org—a joint project of EFF and Visualizing Impact (VI) that won the 2014 Knight News Challenge—seeks to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability toward their users as theyContinue Reading

FREEMUSE Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015

Art Under Attack – FREEMUSE Annual Statistics on Censorship and Attacks on Artistic Freedom in 2015: “Artistic freedom is under extreme pressure in far too many countries. The Freemuse annual report summarises censorship and threats on artistic freedom in over 70 countries. While at the UN level there have been positive signs of larger attentionContinue Reading

New updates for Amber open source plugin to keep links accessible

“The Berkman Center is excited to announce a new release for Amber, the open source tool for WordPress and Drupal that helps fight Internet censorship and link rot by keeping linked content accessible…Amber v1.4.2 is a result of the feedback and input we’ve received from so many early adopters. The new version for WordPress increasesContinue Reading

Google – Protecting the world’s news from digital attack

Google Official Blog: “The web is an increasingly critical tool for news organizations, allowing them to communicate faster, research more easily, and disseminate their work to a global audience. Often it’s the primary distribution channel for critical, investigative work that shines a light into the darkest corners of society and the economy—the kind of reportingContinue Reading

Harvard Berkman Center Releases Amber – Tool for Bloggers and Website Owners

“The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University is pleased to release Amber, a free software tool for WordPress and Drupal that preserves content and prevents broken links. When installed on a blog or website, Amber can take a snapshot of the content of every linked page, ensuring that even if those pagesContinue Reading

World Press Freedom Index 2015: decline on all fronts

“Top of the list, as so often, are three Scandinavian countries: Finland, which has been in first place for five years in succession, followed by Norway and Denmark. At the other end of the scale, Turkmenistan, North Korea and Eritrea, in last place, were the worst performers. France is ranked 38th (up one place), theContinue Reading