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EFF Report Finds 74% Of Censorship News Stories Are About Facebook ( 75

An anonymous reader writes: just released a new report "to provide an objective, data-driven voice in the conversation around commercial content moderation." They're collecting media reports about censorship on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr and Google+, and have now analyzed 294 reports of content takedowns -- 74% of which pertained to Facebook. (Followed by Instagram with 16% and Twitter with 7%.) 47% of all the takedowns were nudity-related, while the next two most frequent reasons given were "real name" violations and "inappropriate content".

Noting "a more visible public debate" over content moderation, the report acknowledges that 4.7 billion Facebook posts are made every day. (It also reports the "consistent refrain" from services apologizing for issues -- that "our team processes millions of reports each week...") But the most bizarre incident they've identified was the tech blogger in India who was locked out of his Facebook account in October because he shared a photo of a cat in a business suit. "It might sound stupid but this just happened to me," he told Mashable India, which reports Facebook later apologized and said it had made a mistake.

Their report -- part of the EFF's collaboration with Visualizing Impact -- urges platforms to clarify their guidelines (as well as applicable laws), to explain the mechanisms being used to evaluate content and appeals, and to share those criteria when notifying users of take-downs. For example, in August Facebook inexplicably removed a 16-century sketch by Erasmus of Rotterdam detailing a right hand.
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EFF Report Finds 74% Of Censorship News Stories Are About Facebook

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  • 'But the most bizarre incident they've identified was the tech blogger in India who was locked out of his Facebook account in October because he shared a photo of a cat in a business suit. "It might sound stupid but this just happened to me," he told Mashable India'

    Yup, that sounds pretty stupid all right. Oh, wait, he's probably not referring to the photo he posted... Does he have another one of dogs playing poker?

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Certainly not as stupid as if, say, the guy had run a news aggregator and intended to post a link to information about Erasmus of Rotterdam, but instead just put "ErasmusofRotterdam" inside the HREF, as if browsers would magically know what they meant.

    • The whole POINT of the internet is to share cute cat photos. Clearly, Zuckerberg is doing it wrong! []

    • by gnick ( 1211984 )

      ...because he shared a photo of a cat in a business suit.

      They neglected to mention that the photo was tagged, "pussy @ work."

  • by gijoel ( 628142 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:22AM (#53330473)
    is like getting your news from a toilet wall.
    • by geekmux ( 1040042 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @06:50AM (#53330677)

      is like getting your news from a toilet wall.

      ...which tends to say far more about the audience consuming crap as fact.

    • This. I don't think what's more scary - the fact that people actually rely on Facebook to get news or that they cannot tell the difference between real ones and crap.

      • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

        Worse are the folks who use Facebook for "headline news + summary" and don't even read the articles or follow up to fact check, just forward it. It's worse than back in the 90's when all my relatives would forward these chain emails with "coke will dissolve a steak over night!!!11!!1!!" spam. I'd send them to Snopes but eventually they'd just stop sending me the crap. Can't do that now because Snopes,, and other such sites are Liberal Shills (tm).


    • People get their news from their peers. If their peers are sharing stories on Facebook I don't see why that would not be valid. It isn't so much the medium by which people are communicating as the original source material and I don't see how you can avoid that as a problem without further alienating people from main stream media by attempting some sort of truthiness meter.

      The ideal is a kind of universal commons where news and information is exchanged in near real-time. At least, that is what I always t
    • by Rozzin ( 9910 )

      is like getting your news from a toilet wall.

      Of course--in Facebook's own jargon, people communicate by posting things to "the wall".

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I posted a picture of a pile of laundry several years ago. It featured a pair of pants with a pronounced bulge in the crotch. The next image in the series showed a duck popping up through the fly of the trousers. The first picture, after several years, was removed last week and that account received a 30 day post ban. I opened a new account to complain and posted the picture again, and again it was removed with a citation for nudity. Both accounts reported this to facebook to be an error, and Facebook

    • "I've read all sorts of hypothesis ... that there are hyper conservative Catholic Philipine peasants sifting through Facebook for pennies a day censoring anything"

      Makes me laugh.
  • by shanen ( 462549 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:54AM (#53330537) Homepage Journal

    In social contexts most people don't like to trigger disagreements. People always believe what they want to believe, but the dynamics of Facebook just make it worse. Rather than computerized and automatic self-brainwashing through "personalization" of your search results, the better to keep your eyeballs from wandering away from the ads, Facebook ads the human power of (Facebook-debased) "friendship" to propagate the BS--but who can argue with making the "members" happier in their delusions?

    Another way to view it is as a glut of information. In a technical context, none of us can read all of the new research being published in our own field of expertise. You could spend 24 hours a day and still fall behind. But if you flip the coin and prefer to believe the earth is flat, then the google is perfectly happy to stuff your eyeholes and earholes with that "evidence", 24/7 as long as you keep clicking on the ads.

    News and truth should not be profit centers. Fake news and lies are much more profitable and will always crush them. The only limit on fake news is human imagination, and the only limit on lies is the gullibility of the suckers.

    Welcome to TrumpWorld, eh?

    • by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @06:27AM (#53330611) Homepage

      Fake news? Which self-brainwashing news outlets have you been listening to? The ones that tell you not to listen to the other ones? LOL. Let that sink in for a moment.

      You know that actor that got up and lectured Pence? He's a misogynist []. Right there in his own words: calling women "ho's". He has also made very rapey comments about taking advantage of drunk women []. Where have you been getting your news? If your news hasn't been mentioning these very pertinent FACTS, then you might be listening to fake news. And if your fake news has been telling you to listen to them exclusively and not listen to alternatives, then you've really got a problem with self-brainwashing.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Maybe he did. But he didn't lecture Pence about misogyny or rape, so why do you think that's relevant? Or is this just an ad hominem in the long line of ad hominem attacks we've come to expect from Trump and his ilk? What he said to Pence was valid, despite anything else he may or may not have done in the past. For all anyone knows, he's repented and mended his ways. Half this country won't be holding its breath waiting for Trump to mend his ways.

        If little Mikey Pencigrew and his silver hand can't stand th

        • Hello? This sort of thing completely invalidates your argument. It's like when you find out the church lady that calls for morality actually commits immoral acts herself. It wipes out anything she ever said. This view is long-standing and predates the current election. Misogyny and rapey behavior results in public shunning and unemployability. It's like accepting a kiss from the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan: "Can't shake the devil's hand and say you were only kidding."
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Hello? This sort of thing completely invalidates your argument.

            Incorrect! It invalidates your credibility, but often does nothing for your argument.

            Arguments exist, and they do not necessarily depend on the character of the person involved.

            The nuanced and considered mind is the one that can appreciate the difference, and when it is meaningful, and when not.

            It's like when you find out the church lady that calls for morality actually commits immoral acts herself. It wipes out anything she ever said.

            Wow, better hope she never told anybody to wash their hands before eating, flush the toilet, or not leave a fire unattended.

            Because now, your own words, condemn that. Because after all, anything she ever said is no

        • But he didn't lecture Pence about misogyny or rape

          Sure he did. He told Pence to "protect us" and "uphold our unalienable rights." Referring to women as sex objects is in contrast to both of those things.

        • Even if he had it wouldn't be relevant. Either the content of that lecture had merit or it did not, that is independent of who spoke the words.
      • Hey. It was just locker room talk.

        • Maybe, but who wants to be associated with someone who engages in locker room talk? It's just poor taste. If it's family you have to deal with it and apologize to people later ("he was hit on the head as a child"). If it's a friend then he stops being a friend and stops getting invited to gatherings. If it's someone running for president then...?

          Personally I don't think he did it. I think he was bragging because he's so full of himself and was engaging in "I'm a huuuuge star now!" banter. But it's st

      • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

        Where do you get your unbiased news? I'm honestly curious and have been posting the same question in various places as quite a lot of people, including Trump, complain that main stream media and fact checking sites have a liberal bias.


        • Well, there isn't any such thing as unbiased news. There's just news that wears its bias on its sleeve. I just today started watching Alex Jones and Infowars. I always thought he was a crank weirdo, but if they're trying to ban him, then WTF? Obviously he is saying something they want to suppress, something harmful to globalism. I've got to find out for myself what the big deal is.

          I've just scratched the surface but Elites Panic As Trump Begins To Deliver [] was an eye-opener. Big megabanks are tax-exe

          • Anyone who says watch that video, or read that link I posted, and think it will change anything is probably the sort of person easily swayed by fake news anyway. No single link or video can prove anything, you need cross references, fact checks, and so on. Those sorts of sites basically rely upon confirmation bias - they say what some people want to hear.

      • You know I read the first line of your post and wished I had mod points. If you'd stopped there is would have been an very insightful post.

        Unfortunately, you continued. If what the man said was correct about Pence, it was correct, it would be correct regardless of who spoke the words. In the same token, if the information contained in wikileaks regarding Hillary Clinton and the Democrats was correct, it was correct regardless of who provided the data. Whether someone is trying to make you ignore the message
        • Whaa? Personal character does indeed count. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence! And yet, his name is trash today, all his accomplishments void, because he owned slaves. It's not a logical fallacy, it's being taught in legitimate, serious universities. It's so ingrained that I wonder just how you even came up with this idea that it doesn't count. If the Wikileaks came from Russian intelligence agencies then they should be disregarded as they were trying to rig our election (and in f
          • I hope you are kidding. If not, let's test it.

            I say 2+2=4. I say water is wet. I say air is important. I say you can't generally breath soup in my experience. I say hammers can be a useful tool around the house. You know absolutely nothing about me. Which of those is true? Which is false? Record your answers. Now, I say I'm a grand wizard of the klan. Which of those is true? Which of those is false? Now, I say I'm a liar. Which of those is true, which of those is false? Record your answers. If you recorded
            • by shanen ( 462549 )

              Not sure if I'm supposed to thank you for the request for favorable mods because I'm not sure which post you were referring to. The long thread still bears my Subject: line, but mostly it has diverged widely from the two points I was attempting to make (and I also had a typo of "Facebook ads" for "Facebook adds"). The OP did wind up with a favorable mod (as of now), for what little that is worth on today's Slashdot.

              Mostly I have little to contribute to the discussion as it diverged. As usual, most of the no

  • by LynnwoodRooster ( 966895 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @06:21AM (#53330601) Journal
    Well I didn't read about that on Facebook, and Mark Zuckerberg promised me he'd eliminate fake news - so if it's not on Facebook, it must not be real!
  • by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @07:31AM (#53330763)

    We live in scary times indeed.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... the mechanisms being used to evaluate content

    A censor has 0.9 seconds to decide if your LOL-catz photo breaches Facebook's rules of nudity, violence, terrorism or anti-American language. It's not decided by election, it's an employee on a 10 hour shift dictating "yay" or "nay".

    ... and appeals ...

    AHAHAHAHAH. Their motto, like Nokia, is "connecting people"; as long as those people aren't Facebook employees.

    ... share those criteria ...

    Facebook doesn't owe you anything and it delivers that promise 200%.

  • by cmseagle ( 1195671 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @08:55AM (#53330971)
    ...most news stories about facial tissue are about Kleenex.
  • I only read news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thinkwaitfast ( 4150389 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @11:01AM (#53331579)
    that somehow affects me personally or that I can have some influence over. If most people had this requirement, there would be no "news". As it is, it exists only for entertainment purposes
  • by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @11:18AM (#53331699) Journal
    294 take downs is not a significant enough sample size to start making a report or pointing fingers at one outlet or another. Additionally, I doubt the EFF had access to this information directly which means it could just be easier in some fashion to pass along FB information.

    I'm not saying FB does not account for the majority; I'm saying the data presented here provides negligible weight toward that conclusion and my respect for the EFF just dropped a notch. It is irresponsible for a credible and respected organization to public something like this without more to go on.
  • 1) Facebook is not, and never will be, a democracy.
    2) Facebook does not, and never will, guarantee freedom of speech, expression, communication
    - Facebook risks being blocked by "non-democratic" governments
    - Facebook risks being sued or blocked by people, companies, and countries.

    Unfortunately... Facebook has reached a point where...
    Every-one uses Facebook because every-one they know uses it

The best book on programming for the layman is "Alice in Wonderland"; but that's because it's the best book on anything for the layman.