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Category Archives: Free Speech

Hearing – Facebook, Google and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practice

“House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today delivered the following statement during the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing on “Facebook, Google, and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practices of Social Media Giants.” …Today, we continue to examine how social media companies filter content on their platforms. At our last hearing, which we held April, this Committee heard from Members of Congress, social media personalities, legal experts, and a representative of the news media industry to better understand the concerns surrounding content filtering. Despite our invitations, Facebook, Google, and Twitter declined to send witnesses. Today, we finally have them here. Since our last hearing, we’ve seen numerous efforts by these companies to improve transparency. Conversely, we’ve also seen numerous stories in the news of content that’s still being unfairly restricted. Just before July Fourth, for example, Facebook automatically blocked a post from a Texas newspaper that it claimed contained hate speech. Facebook then asked the paper to “review the contents of its page and remove anything that does not comply with Facebook’s policies.” The text at issue was the Declaration of Independence…”

Witness Statements:

NYT – How conservatives weaponized the First Amendment

How conservatives weaponized the First Amendment: “…The Citizens United campaign finance case, for instance, was decided on free-speech grounds, with the five-justice conservative majority ruling that the First Amendment protects unlimited campaign spending by corporations. The government, the majority said, has no business regulating political speech. The dissenters responded that the First Amendment did not… Continue Reading

Germany Acts to Tame Facebook, Learning From Its Own History of Hate

The New York Times: A country taps its past as it leads the way on one of the most pressing issues facing modern democracies: how to regulate the world’s biggest social network. “Spread over five floors, hundreds of men and women sit in rows of six scanning their computer screens. All have signed nondisclosure agreements.… Continue Reading

TIME magazine cover story – How Baby Boomers Broke America

Steven Brill – How My Generation Broke America [Brill is the author of Tailspin, from which this article is adapted, out this month from Alfred A. Knopf.] This appears in the May 28, 2018 issue of TIME: “Lately, most Americans, regardless of their political leanings, have been asking themselves some version of the same question:… Continue Reading

Report – Media freedom in US under threat

The IFEX network of organisations – defending and promoting free express: “The United States media – one of the best protected in the world – is facing challenges that threaten the freedom of the press. This is the finding of an unprecedented press freedom mission that took place in January 2018, one year after President… Continue Reading

Paper – Privacy and Freedom of Expression In the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Privacy and Freedom of Expression In the Age of Artificial Intelligence – April 2018. Joint Paper by Privacy International and ARTICLE 19 [a global human rights organisation, which works around the world to protect and promote the right to freedom of expression and information (‘freedom of expression’). Established in 1987, with its international office in… Continue Reading

Commentary – how do we fix life online without limiting free speech

New Yorker – Reddit and the Struggle to Detoxify the Internet How do we fix life online without limiting free speech? “Which Web sites get the most traffic? According to the ranking service Alexa, the top three sites in the United States, as of this writing, are Google, YouTube, and Facebook. (Porn, somewhat hearteningly, doesn’t… Continue Reading

8 challenges for open government posed by emerging technology

Sunlight Foundation: 8 challenges for open government posed by emerging technology – “As 2018 begins, the big tent of open government holds both promise and peril, as nationalism, populism, low trust in institutions, and voter anger and apathy put years of gains at risk. We continue to see meaningful ways for better laws and policies to enable… Continue Reading

Wired – The Golden Age of Free Speech?

It’s the [Democracy-Poisoning] Golden Age of Free Speech: “..In today’s networked environment, when anyone can broadcast live or post their thoughts to a social network, it would seem that censorship ought to be impossible. This should be the golden age of free speech. And sure, it is a golden age of free speech—if you can… Continue Reading

Americans See More News Bias; Most Can’t Name Neutral Source

Gallup News: “Americans’ perceptions of news media bias have increased significantly over the past generation. Thirty-two percent believe the news media are careful to separate fact from opinion, well below the 58% who held this view in 1984. Meanwhile, 66% currently agree that most news media do not do a good job of letting people… Continue Reading

Freedom in the World 2018 Democracy in Crisis

Freedom House – Freedom in the World 2018, Democracy in Crisis: “Democracy is in retreat globally and, some say, in the United States. Exacerbating the democratic backslide are authoritarian regimes such as Russia and China, which have increased both repression at home and efforts to export instability abroad. On the home front, indifference toward democratic… Continue Reading

LIS News – Ten Stories That Shaped 2017

LIS NEWS – Can you believe it’s almost 2018? That means it’s time to look back at some of the notable library-related stories from the past year. 10. Librarians Fight Fake News The problems with fake news caused many of us to revamp our web evaluation handouts into guides for spotting bogus information sources. 9.… Continue Reading