Track censored content on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media

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There are many problems with the censoring of online content, not least that it can limit free speech. But there is also the question of transparency. By the very nature of censorship, unless you have been kept in the loop you would simply not know that anything had been censored.

This is something the Electronic Frontier Foundation wants to change, and today the digital rights organization launches Onlinecensorship.org to blow the lid off online censorship. The site, run by EFF and Visualizing Impact, aims to reveal the content that is censored on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube -- not just the 'what' but the 'why'. If you find yourself the subject of censorship, the site also explains how to lodge an appeal.

Inspired by the removal of a Facebook post supporting OneWorld's Freedom for Palestine project, Onlinecensorship.org was born out of a desire to increase transparency and accountability. The aim is to identify the censorship trends that exist on social media sites as well as learning about the impact it has on different communities.

Jillian C York, EFF Director for International Freedom of Expression and co-founder of Onlinecensorship.org, says:

We want to know how social media companies enforce their terms of service. The data we collect will allow us to raise public awareness about the ways these companies are regulating speech. We hope that companies will respond to the data by improving their regulations and reporting mechanisms and processes -- we need to hold Internet companies accountable for the ways in which they exercise power over people's digital lives.

Co-founder Ramzi Jaber explains that the likes of Facebook need to understand that when content is censored, more often than not it is vulnerable people who are worst affected. He says: "Both a company’s terms of service and their enforcement mechanisms should take into account power imbalances that place already-marginalized communities at greater risk online".

Head over to OnlineCensorship.org where you will find everything you need to know about making an appeal, news about censorship, and a means of reporting censorship you have suffered.

Photo credit: BladeTucker / Shutterstock

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