Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Read more me_internet.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

An almost theological question for, what will AI make of religion? What will it make of people who proclaim peace whilst inciting violence; who preach tolerance whilst practising intolerance; and whose hypocrisy about sexuality is simply perverse?Anyway, Facebook have excelled themselves by banning an image of Jesus Christ on the cross in a context of religious education.

A post on the Franciscan University blog explains:

We posted yesterday a series of ads to Facebook to promote our online MA Theology and MA Catechetics and Evangelization programs.

One ad was rejected, and an administrator of our Facebook page noticed this rejection today. The reason given for the rejection?

Your image, video thumbnail or video can’t contain shocking, sensational, or excessively violent content.

Our ad was rejected because it contained:

  • shocking content

  • sensational content

  • excessively violent content

What was the offending image?

banned cruxifictionAnd indeed, the Crucifixion of Christ was all of those things. It was the most sensational action in history: man executed his God.

It was shocking, yes: God deigned to take on flesh and was obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:8)

And it was certainly excessively violent: a man scourged to within an inch of his life, nailed naked to a cross and left to die, all the hate of all the sin in the world poured out its wrath upon his humanity.

Although the university owned up to the ‘violent’ image Facebook then decided that of course the image wasn’t violent and yet again issued a grovelling apology for its shoddy censorship process. So do you think AI censorship process will be any better?

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open rights group 2016 logo Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out – but you won’t find it in the chrome store because Facebook have issued a takedown request.

Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works. That will hardly be a shock to you or anyone else, but it is a serious problem. The algorithm is what Facebook uses to determine what you, or anyone else around the world, will see.

What it chooses to promote or bury has become increasingly important to our democracy. But Facebook don’t want you to know how it works.

Facebook Tracking Exposed (FTE) is a browser extension which intends to find out – it lets users compare their timeline posts against the potential chronological content, helping them to understand why some posts have been promoted, and other haven’t. It also allows comparative research, pooling data to help researchers try and reverse engineer the algorithm itself.

So far, so great – but you won’t be able to find FTE in the chrome store because Facebook have issued a takedown on the basis on the basis of an alleged trademark infringement. Facebook do not want you to know how their algorithm works – how it controls the flow of information to billions of people.

To pretend the premise of Facebook’s trademark claim is reasonable for a second (it’s not likely – the Facebook used in the name describes the purpose of the tool rather than who made it) the question becomes – is it reasonable for Facebook to use this as an excuse to continue to obfuscate their filtering of important information?

The answer, as all of the news around Cambridge Analytica is making clear, is that it absolutely is not. People looking to understand the platform they are using would find it very difficult to find without the Facebook in the name. But then, Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works.

This is easy for Facebook to fix, they could revoke their infringement claim, and start taking on some genuine accountability. There is no guarantee that FTE will be able to perfectly reveal the exact workings of the algorithm – attempts to reverse engineer proprietary algorithms are difficult, and observations will always be partial and difficult to control and validate.

That doesn’t change the fact that companies like Facebook and Google need to be transparent about the ways they filter information. The information they do or don’t show people can affect opinions, and potentially even sway elections.

We are calling on Google to reinstate the application on the Chrome store and for Facebook to withdraw their request to remove the app. But, then, Facebook don’t want you to know how their algorithm works.

The equivalent add-on for Firefox is also now unavailable.

Read more gcnews.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

facebook-ads-small-businessGoogle and Facebook accused of supposedly profiting from pop-up brothels and sex clubs sweeping Britain

Ministers are reportedly considering new laws to make internet giants liable when sex workers use their sites to organise business.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) are supporting the propaganda and claim Google and Facebook are making profits from sex trafficking, according to the Times.

Pop up sex clubs have been discovered in Cornwall, Cambridge, Swindon and holiday cottages in the Peak District. Will Kerr, the NCA’s ‘head of vulnerabilities’, claimed:

People are using the internet and social media sites to enable sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is clear that the internet platforms which host and make a profit out of this type of material need to do more to identify and stop these forms of exploitation.

Government figures want internet giants like Facebook to be held accountable, eying new US laws that are set to overturn more than 20 years of blanket immunity for sites for content posted by users. It will make firms liable if they knowingly assist, support or facilitate content that leads to trafficking.

Downing Street and Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said they are looking at whether and how to replicate the action in the UK.

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harry potter spell
  I’ve spent years of study perfecting a spell to turn Hermione into a porn star, and some spotty muggle has beaten me to it.

In recent weeks there has been an explosion in what has become known as deepfakes: pornographic videos manipulated so that the original actress’ face is replaced with somebody else’s.

As these tools have become more powerful and easier to use, it has enabled the transfer of sexual fantasies from people’s imaginations to the internet. It flies past not only the boundaries of human decency, but also our sense of believing what we see and hear.

There are some celebrities in particular that seem to have attracted the most attention from deepfakers.

It seems, anecdotally, to be driven by the shock factor: the extent to which a real explicit video involving this subject would create a scandal.

Fakes depicting actress Emma Watson are among the most popular on deepfake communities, alongside those involving Natalie Portman.

As the practice draws more ire, some of the sites facilitating the sharing of such content are considering their options – and taking tentative action.

Gfycat, an image hosting site, has removed posts it identified as being deepfakes – a task likely to become much more difficult in the not-too-distant future.

Reddit, the community website that has emerged as a central hub for sharing, is yet to take any direct action – but the BBC understands it is looking closely at what it could do.

…Read the full article from bbc.com

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john william waterhouse: Hylas and the NymphsManchester Art Gallery has censored a historic artwork seemingly in response to #MeToo concerns about men gazing on naked women.John William Waterhouse’s painting Hylas and the Nymphs was painted in 1896 and depicts pubescent, naked nymphs tempting a handsome young man to his doom.  It is one of the most recognisable of the pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Although framing the decision as some sort of prompt for a debate, the censorship seems permanent as the gallery has also announced that will also be erased from the post card selection in the gallery shop.

Clare Gannaway, the gallery’s ‘curator’ of contemporary art, explained the censorship on grounds of political correctness. She spoke about the work, and related paintings which were exhibited in a room titled In Pursuit of Beauty :

The title was a bad one, as it was male artists pursuing women’s bodies, and paintings that presented the female body as a passive decorative art form or a femme fatale.

For me personally, there is a sense of embarrassment that we haven’t dealt with it sooner. Our attention has been elsewhere … we’ve collectively forgotten to look at this space and think about it properly. We want to do something about it now because we have forgotten about it for so long.

She added that the debates around Time’s Up and #MeToo had fed into the decision.

She also invented a bizarre take on “I don’t believe in censorship…BUT…”. She claimed

The aim of the removal was to provoke debate, not to censor. It wasn’t about denying the existence of particular artworks. [ …BUT… it was about preventing men from gazing on the female form].

The response so far has been mixed. Some have said it sets a dangerous precedent, while others have called it po-faced and politically correct.

Read more uk_internet_censors.htm at MelonFarmers.co.uk

Culture, Media and Sport select committeeA parliamentary committee is trying to get heavy with Facebook and Twitter over the release of details about Russian elections interference.Damian Collins, chair of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport select committee, which is looking into so-called fake news, has given the companies until 18 January to correct their failure to hand over information he requested about Russian misinformation campaigns on their platforms. He said:

There has to be a way of scrutinising the procedures that companies like Facebook put in place to help them identify known sources of disinformation, particularly when it’s politically motivated and coming from another country.

They need to be able to tell us what they can do about it. And what we need to be able to do is say to the companies: we recognise that you are best placed to monitor what is going on your own site and to get the balance right in taking action against it but also safeguarding the privacy of users.

But what there has to be then is some mechanism of saying: if you fail to do that, if you ignore requests to act, if you fail to police the site effectively and deal with highly problematic content, then there has to be some sort of sanction against you.

In a letter to Twitter this month, Collins wrote:

The information you have now shared with us is completely inadequate … It seems odd that so far we have received more information about activities that have taken place on your platform from journalists and academics than from you.

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heist tightsBack in 2016, after a bit of a hoo-hah about a ‘beach body ready’ advert, London Mayor Sadiq Khan pressurised Transport For London (TfL) into introducing a PC ban for all adverts which didn’t adhere to the notion of ‘body positivity’.And in the latest example of extreme PC censorship, Heist, a company which sells up-market tights, recently revealed that TfL forced it to cover-up a woman’s naked back with a bandeau top in one of its adverts on the tube.

A representative from Exterion Media, the company which works on behalf of TfL and enforces its policy, told Heist:

Whilst I know this is only showing a bare back, it still depicts a ‘topless model. If we could add a boob tube around the back I think this would be passed.’

It also looks as if the tights were photoshopped to darken them a little to hide a rather sharply outlined bottom.

… Read the critical comment in article from blogs.spectator.co.uk by Ella Whelan.