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This new EFF website draws attention to social media censorship

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has been focusing a lot more on privacy and security issues following the Snowden leaks, but the organization is directing more of its attention towards censorship and content control. Earlier this week, the EFF launched a new website that it hopes will be able to create a user-generated database of the content that social networks like Facebook and Twitter decide to censor. It’s important to draw attention to this censorship, because while these social networks may have an ethical obligation to keep censorship to a bare minimum, they don’t have a legal one, which means it’s up to the people to try and change things. 

We already know that Facebook and other social networks tailor our feeds based on what is likely to interest us instead of showing us everything our friends post by default. But what else aren’t they showing us? A new site from the Electronic Frontier Foundation aims to tell us all about the types of content social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are reluctant to let us see. OnlineCensorship.org aims to make content deletions on social networks more transparent by receiving and publicizing user-contributed stories of censorship. The site is financed by a 2014 Knight News Challenge awardd. Content restrictions on social networks are certainly nothing new. Most social networks have prohibitions against posting things such as pirated material, pornography, or hate speech. You’ve probably also heard about more specific restrictions such as Facebook’s former prohibition of breastfeeding images, no female nipples on Instagram, or Twitter’s crackdown on tweeting other people’s jokes as your own. The world’s largest social network also recently started deleting mentions of the Manhattan-based social network Tsu.co calling it spam, according to The Huffington Post. Heck, Boing Boing couldn’t even mention the site in its own story without it getting pulled off Facebook.

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