Category Archives: Censorship

Facebook suspended the account of the whistleblower who brought the Cambridge Analytica data snooping to the world's attention

Facebook actually did that – they have disabled the Facebook account of Christopher Wylie who blew the whistle on the personal data collection done by Cambridge Analytica.
I expect to find my own Facebook account suspended for having spent years warning about the dangers of social media for propaganda messaging.
Source: Should I delete Facebook? The Cambridge Analytica files explained

EFF agrees that automated social media filters will not work

In all of the debate about the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA, S. 1693), there’s one question that’s received surprisingly little airplay: under SESTA, what would online platforms do in order to protect themselves from the increased liability for their users’ speech?
With the threat of overwhelming criminal and civil liability hanging over their heads, Internet platforms would likely turn to automated filtering of users’ speech in a big way. That’s bad news because when platforms rely too heavily on automated filtering, it almost always results in some voices being silenced.

Source: Stop SESTA: Whose Voices Will SESTA Silence? | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Amazon deletes reviews of Michael Wolff's book about Trump 

This is actually old news from a while back but …

E-commerce giant Amazon is deleting reviews for Michael Wolff’s bombshell book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House that do not comply with company guidelines.

Source: Amazon deletes reviews of Michael Wolff’s book about Trump | Daily Mail Online
Last fall, Amazon deleted 1-star reviews from Hillary Clinton’s book.
Two thoughts on this: (1) Fake reviews are to online commerce what propaganda bots are to social media, and (2) the accuracy of selecting which reviews to delete is not great, meaning many legitimate reviews get thrown out.
This points to the problem of thinking that “bad content actors” can be addressed with more software and machine learning algorithms. Further, once censorship is run by software, think of the possibilities to rewrite and delete en masse!
This week, for example, “Amazon frightened many conservative authors this week in a mass deletion of reviews. Some authors lost almost 100 reviews on their published works. Others lost all the reviews they had ever written on Amazon. Some lost both.”
Was this due to a rogue Amazon employee? Or was this due to software? We do not know. But actions like these diminish the usefulness of all things Internet related.
Imagine the possibilities where just two mega corporations control the flow of ideas online using automated systems. We end up with 1984 on steroids!