Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

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european parliament 2018 logo New rules on audiovisual media services will apply to broadcasters, and also to video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms

MEPs voted on updated rules on audiovisual media services covering children protection, stricter rules on advertising, and a requirement 30% European content in video-on-demand.

Following the final vote on this agreement, the revised legislation will apply to broadcasters, but also to video-on-demand and video-sharing platforms, such as Netflix, YouTube or Facebook, as well as to live streaming on video-sharing platforms.

The updated rules will ensure:

  • Enhanced protection of minors from violence, hatred, terrorism and harmful advertising

Audiovisual media services providers should have appropriate measures to combat content inciting violence, hatred and terrorism, while gratuitous violence and pornography will be subject to the strictest rules. Video-sharing platforms will now be responsible for reacting quickly when content is reported or flagged by users as harmful.

The legislation does not include any automatic filtering of uploaded content, but, at the request of the Parliament, platforms need to create a transparent, easy-to-use and effective mechanism to allow users to report or flag content.

The new law includes strict rules on advertising, product placement in children’s TV programmes and content available on video-on-demand platforms. EP negotiators also secured a personal data protection mechanism for children, imposing measures to ensure that data collected by audiovisual media providers are not processed for commercial use, including for profiling and behaviourally targeted advertising.

  • Redefined limits of advertising

Under the new rules, advertising can take up a maximum of 20% of the daily broadcasting period between 6.00 and 18.00, giving the broadcaster the flexibility to adjust their advertising periods. A prime-time window between 18:00 and 0:00 was also set out, during which advertising will only be allowed to take up a maximum of 20% of broadcasting time.

  • 30% of European content on the video-on-demand platforms’ catalogues

In order to support the cultural diversity of the European audiovisual sector, MEPs ensured that 30% of content in the video-on-demand platforms’ catalogues should be European.

Video-on-demand platforms are also asked to contribute to the development of European audiovisual productions, either by investing directly in content or by contributing to national funds. The level of contribution in each country should be proportional to their on-demand revenues in that country (member states where they are established or member states where they target the audience wholly or mostly).

The legislation also includes provisions regarding accessibility, integrity of a broadcaster’s signal, strengthening regulatory authorities and promoting media competences.

Next steps

The deal still needs to be formally approved by the Council of EU ministers before the revised law can enter into force. Member States have 21 months after its entry into force to transpose the new rules into national legislation.

The text was adopted by 452 votes against 132, with 65 abstentions.

Article 6a

A new section has been added to the AVMS rules re censorship

  1. Member States shall take appropriate measures to ensure that audiovisual media services provided by media service providers under their jurisdiction which may impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors are only made available in such a way as to ensure that minors will not normally hear or see them. Such measures may include selecting the time of the broadcast, age verification tools or other technical measures. They shall be proportionate to the potential harm of the programme. The most harmful content, such as gratuitous violence and pornography, shall be subject to the strictest measures.

  2. Personal data of minors collected or otherwise generated by media service providers pursuant to paragraph 1 shall not be processed for commercial purposes, such as direct marketing, profiling and behaviourally targeted advertising.

  3. Member States shall ensure that media service providers provide sufficient information to viewers about content which may impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors. For this purpose, media service providers shall use a system describing the potentially harmful nature of the content of an audiovisual media service. For the implementation of this paragraph, Member States shall encourage the use of co – regulation as provided for in Article 4a(1).

  4. The Commission shall encourage media service providers to exchange best practices on co – regulatory codes of conduct . Member States and the Commission may foster self – regulation, for the purposes of this Article, through Union codes of conduct as referred to in Article 4a(2).

Article 4a suggests possible organisation of the censors assigned to the task, eg state censors, state controlled organisations eg Ofcom, or nominally state controlled co-regulators like the defunct ATVOD.

Article 4a(3). notes that censorial countries like the UK are free to add further censorship rules of their own:

Member States shall remain free to require media service providers under their jurisdiction to comply with more detailed or stricter rules in compliance with this Directive and Union law, including where their national independent regulatory authorities or bodies conclude that any code of conduct or parts thereof h ave proven not to be sufficiently effective. Member States shall report such rules to the Commission without undue delay. ;

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twitter 2015 logo Twitter is consulting its users about new censorship rules banning ‘dehumanising speech’, in which people are compared to animals or objects. It said language that made people seem less than human had repercussions.

The social network already has a hateful-conduct policy but it is implemented discriminately allowing some types of insulting language to remain online. For example, countless tweets describing middle-aged white men as gammon can be found on the platform.

At present it bans insults based on a person’s: race ethnicity nationality sexual orientation sex gender religious beliefs age disability medical condition but there is an unwritten secondary rule which means that the prohibition excludes groups not favoured under the conventions of political correctness.

Twitter said it intended to prohibit dehumanising language towards people in an identifiable group because some researchers claim it could lead to real-world violence. Asked whether calling men gammon would count as dehumanising speech, the company said it would first seek the views of its members. Twitter’s announcement reads in part:

For the last three months, we have been developing a new policy to address dehumanizing language on Twitter. Language that makes someone less than human can have repercussions off the service, including normalizing serious violence. Some of this content falls within our hateful conduct policy (which prohibits the promotion of violence against or direct attacks or threats against other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or serious disease), but there are still Tweets many people consider to be abusive, even when they do not break our rules. Better addressing this gap is part of our work to serve a healthy public conversation.

With this change, we want to expand our hateful conduct policy to include content that dehumanizes others based on their membership in an identifiable group, even when the material does not include a direct target. Many scholars have examined the relationship between dehumanization and violence. For example, Susan Benesch has described dehumanizing language as a hallmark of dangerous speech, because it can make violence seem acceptable, and Herbert Kelman has posited that dehumanization can reduce the strength of restraining forces against violence.

witter’s critics are now using the hashtag #verifiedhate to highlight examples of what they believe to be bias in what the platform judges to be unacceptable. The gammon insult gained popularity after a collage of contributors to the BBC’s Question Time programme – each middle-aged, white and male – was shared along with the phrase Great Wall of Gammon in 2017.

The scope of identifiable groups covered by the new rules will be decided after a public consultation that will run until 9 October.

Ps before filling in the consultation form, note that it was broken for me and didn’t accept my submission. For the record, Melon Farmer tried to submit the comment:

This is yet another policy that restricts free speech. As always, the vagueness of the rules will allow Twitter, or its moderators, to arbitrarily apply its own morality anyway. But not to worry, the richness of language will always enable people to dream up new ways to insult others.

Read more me_internet.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Facebook logoAnd today’s daily act of censorship is to take down 652 accounts and pages connected to Russia and Iran that published political propaganda.Facebook said in a blog post  that the errant accounts were first uncovered by the cybersecurity firm FireEye, and have links to Russia and Iran. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said:

These were networks of accounts that were misleading people about who they were and what they were doing,We ban this kind of behavior because authenticity matters. People need to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook.

In July, FireEye tipped Facebook off to the existence of a network of pages known as Liberty Front Press. The network included 70 accounts, three Facebook groups, and 76 Instagram accounts, which had 155,000 Facebook followers and 48,000 Instagram followers. Not exactly impressive figures though. And the paltry $6,000 spent since 2015 rather suggests that these a small fry.

Liberty Free Press also was linked to a set of pages that posed as news organizations while also hacking people’s accounts and spread malware, Facebook said. That network included 12 pages and 66 accounts, plus nine Instagram accounts. They had about 15,000 Facebook followers and 1,100 Instagram followers, and did not buy advertising or events.

Iran-linked accounts and pages created in 2011 shared posts about politics in the Middle East, United Kingdom, and United States. That campaign had 168 pages and 140 Facebook accounts, as well as 31 Instagram accounts, and had 813,000 Facebook followers and 10,000 Instagram followers. Again the total advertising spend was just $6,000.

Russian accounts taken down in the Facebook action were focused on politics in Syria and Ukraine, but did not target the United States.

Facebook’s reputation ratings

See  article from bbc.co.uk

Facebook has confirmed that it has started scoring some of its members on a trustworthiness scale.The Washington Post revealed that the social network had developed the system over the past year.

The tech firm says it has been developed to help handle reports of false news on its platform, but it has declined to reveal how the score is calculated or the limits of its use. Critics are concerned that users have no apparent way to obtain their rating. The BBC understands that at present only Facebook’s misinformation team makes use of the measurement.

Perhaps the scheme works on 1 to 5 scale with the bottom rating of 1, being as trustworthy as Facebook, a lowly score of 2 for being twice as trustworthy as Facebook, whilst top of the scale is 5 times as trustworthy as Facebook.

Facebook objected the scale being described in the Washington Post as being a ‘reputation’ score. Facebook said that this was just plain wrong claiming:

What we’re actually doing: We developed a process to protect against people indiscriminately flagging news as fake and attempting to game the system. The reason we do this is to make sure that our fight against misinformation is as effective as possible.

No doubt armies of Indian SEO workers will now redirect their efforts at improving website’s Facebook reputation ratings.

Seeking refuge in blaming Facebook

See  article from nytimes.com

Meanwhile Warwick University research suggests that anti refugee troubles are worse in German towns where Facebook usage is more than the national average. Facebook are taking a lot of stick lately but it seems a little much to start blaming them for all the world’s ills. If Facebook were to be banned tomorrow, would the world suddenly become a less fractious place? What do you think?

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facebook nudity inspectors video The Flemish Tourism Board has responded to Facebook’s relentless censorship of nudity in classical paintings by Peter Paul RubensIn the satirical video, a team of Social Media Inspectors block gallery goers from seeing paintings at the Rubens House in Antwerp. Facebook-branded security–called fbi–redirect unwitting crowds away from paintings that depict nude figures. We need to direct you away from nudity, even if artistic in nature, says one Social Media Inspector.

The Flemish video, as well as a cheeky open letter from the tourism board and a group of Belgian museums, asks Facebook to roll back its censorship standards so that they can promote Rubens. “Breasts, buttocks and Peter Paul Rubens cherubs are all considered indecent. Not by us, but by you, the letter, addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, says. Even though we secretly have to laugh about it, your cultural censorship is making life rather difficult for us.

The Guardian reported that Facebook is planning to have talks with the Flemish tourist board.

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Poland flagThe Polish government is demanding that ISPs snitch on their customers who attempt to access websites it deems illegal.

The government wants to make the restrictions stricter for unauthorised online gambling sites and will require local ISPs to inform it about citizens’ attempts to access them. According to the Panoptykon Foundation, a digital rights watchdog, the government will compile a central registry of unauthorized websites to monitor.

According to the digital rights body, the government seeks to introduce a chief snooper that would compel data from ISPs disclosing which citizens tried to access unauthorised websites. In addition, the ISPs would have to keep the smooping requests secret from the customer.

Local organisations are unsurprisingly worried that the censorship’s expansion could turn out to be the first of many steps in an online limitation escalation.

Read more me_internet.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

declaration of independenceOne moment Facebook’s algorithms are expected to be able to automatically distinguish terrorism support from news reporting or satire, the next moment, it demonstrates exactly how crap it is by failing to distinguish hate speech from a profound, and nation establishing, statement of citizens rights.

Facebook’s algorithms removed parts of the US Declaration of Independence from the social media site after determining they represented hate speech.

The issue came to light when a local paper in Texas began posting excerpts of the historic text on its Facebook page each day in the run up to the country’s Independence Day celebrations on July 4.

However when The Liberty County Vindicator attempted to post its tenth extract, which refers to merciless Indian savages, on its Facebook page the paper received a notice saying the post went against its standards on hate speech.

Facebook later ‘apologised’ as it has done countless times before and allowed the posting.

Read more pc_news.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

slave montreal festival posterThe Montreal International Jazz Festival has explained its decision to censor a show featuring a white woman singing songs composed by black slaves.Festival CEO Jacques-Andre Dupont said the decision to abruptly cancel SLAV partway through its run was made for a mix of technical and human reasons, including security concerns raised by the escalating vitriol surrounding the show. He also said that the show’s star, Betty Bonifassi, had broken her ankle and indicated she was no longer able to continue.

He said that while many protesters were peaceful, the festival and the theatre where the show was performed were concerned by the aggression of some protesters and the rising division and anger surrounding the show. He said Bonifassi’s decision to not continue was prompted both by her injury and the criticism.

Dupont said the festival and the production company would absorb what he said would be hundreds of thousands of dollars in losses associated with cancelling the show, including paying the performers.

SLAV, one of the hottest tickets at this year’s jazz festival, was the subject of protests claiming ‘cultural appropriation’ of black culture and history. It was described as a theatrical odyssey based on slave songs and a journey through traditional Afro-American songs, from cotton fields to construction sites, railroads, from slave songs to prison songs.

Black activists denounced the show and its mostly-white cast, and U.S. musician Moses Sumney cancelled a gig at the festival in protest.

Amid a storm of international media attention, the festival announced Wednesday it was cancelling the remaining performances and apologizing to anybody who had been hurt.

The renowned Quebec playwright Robert Lepage who directed the show criticized the decision to cancel it, calling it a direct blow to artistic freedom. He said in a statement that actors pretending to be someone else is at the very heart of theatre:

When we are no longer allowed to step into someone else’s shoes, when it is forbidden to identify with someone else, theatre is denied its very nature, it is prevented from performing its primary function and is thus rendered meaningless.