Facebook censors British strike news

This video from Britain is called June 30 solidarity call out: Support the strike! Stop the cuts! UK Uncut.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Facebook caught up in J30 strike censorship row

Tuesday 21 June 2011

by Rory MacKinnon

Anti-cuts activists were surprised today to find that a website promoting next week’s public-sector strike had been blocked on Facebook.

The site, www.j30strike.org, went live on Monday – but within a few hours users attempting to share the link on Facebook began receiving an error message.

“This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy,” it read.

Several users flagged the site for review and continued to link to it via services which shortened the address – but those too were blocked a few minutes later.

Then a blog post linking to the site from another server – entitled “Facebook Censors Citizen Activism Website” – was also blocked.

The links were finally unblocked following inquiries from the Morning Star and US-based news site Mother Jones.

A Facebook spokeswoman apologised for any inconvenience caused and said the site had contained links which triggered Facebook’s spam filters.

But she would not say what content had been flagged as spam in the first place.

The block is not the first time activists have clashed with the network’s bureaucracy.

In April at least 51 protest groups’ pages were suspended on the eve of the royal wedding, spurring some organisers to ask whether the crackdown was requested by the Metropolitan Police.

A Facebook spokesman said at the time that the website had suspended the pages because they listed groups as individuals, a technical violation of Facebook’s terms of service.

He added that the Met had not asked Facebook to take down the content, but on Monday the force refused a freedom of information request for any communication with Facebook regarding the takedown, citing national security.

When contacted today, a Facebook spokeswoman refused to say whether the Met had been in contact prior to the pages’ suspension.

Students and disabled to join June 30 walkout: here.

Britain: A senior Labour MP accused Prime Minister David Cameron today of enjoying a secret millionaire lifestyle while trashing the pay and pensions of public servants: here.

The deadly impact in every workplace of planned government cuts were exposed today by leading health and safety campaigner Hilda Palmer: here.

The recent death of James Dennis Kay at a factory in Kirkby, Merseyside, England has highlighted the appalling health and safety record of Sonae, the Portuguese chipboard manufacturer: here.

USA: Adam Kader, Working In These Times: “The decline of unions does not mean the end of the labor movement. Indeed, the last few years have seen a proliferation of new kinds of worker organizations and workers’ rights campaigns. Some of the most exciting of late have been conducted by community-based groups (rather than workplace-based unions), such as the Coalition of Immokalee Workers and those part of the National Domestic Workers Alliance. In Solidarity Unionism at Starbucks, a recent pamphlet published by PM Press, Daniel Gross and Staughton Lynd highlight an increasingly important feature of today’s labor movement – nonunion workers using direct action strategies protected by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) – while examining the Industrial Workers of the World’s (IWW)’s ongoing efforts to organize Starbucks”: here.

USA: Yep, Right-Wingers Still Banning Books — Slaughterhouse-5 Booted from School for Being “Contrary to the Bible”: here.

Australia: Indigenous rapper Caper says a backlash from his fans caused Facebook to reverse their banning of the video to his song “How Would You Like To Be Me?” (lyrics below). The song, which addresses racism in Australia, has enjoyed extensive radio airplay, becoming one of the most requested songs on Magic FM: here.

Sex, Flags, and Ocalan: Facebook Embraces Turkish Censorship: here.

13 thoughts on “Facebook censors British strike news

  1. I’m actually involved in a lot of labor stuff through facebook. That doesn’t mean that I’m foolish enough to believe that facebook is always neutral or disinterested. It’s easy to block a facebook group or a blogger site. Just have a few people flag them for objectionable content. There are people trying to set up explicitly pro-labor social networking sights like Laborbook but they don’t lend themselves to other social pursuits. Laborbook is mostly for paid union officers and staff with almost no input from rank and filers. The good thing about facebook is that it allows me to post across various social boundaries so that I can reach music friends, labor friends, leftist friends, work mates, others who work in my industry. Blogging puts me in touch with maybe a couple of dozen people. Facebook dramatically increases the number of people I talk to. Also, I have made real world friends through facebook. People who share my interests. It’s true that I can’t discuss things in as much depth on facebook, at least not initially, but facebook is generating real time discussion and further face to face meetings.
    So, are we being spied on? Yes, of course. It’s hard not to describe the United States as an extremely well run police state. That doesn’t mean I feel compelled to be silent. People still speak up here. If anything is going to change our current system it will be something the cops and bosses didn’t expect. Maybe we should wait for a genius to come along and organize all that in secret, using one on one contacts, or maybe we can seek out every possible means to talk to one another and see if that larger discussion doesn’t produce something unexpected. The cops are looking for something predictable. The saying is, “every army is preparing to fight the last war”. They find it difficult to prepare for the next war. Let them feel comfortable using their computers to search for keywords they already know. We are trying to invent words they’ve never heard.
    There have been two very good science fiction novels written in the past few years by Cory Doctorow. They were aimed at young adults who grew up using technology to communicate. The first, “Little Brother” is essentially a guide to bypassing security systems and generating your own codes and security systems. The young people in the novel use technology to hack and disrupt the high tech police state. The follow up novel, “For The Win” is about an international, multilingual, high-tech union organizing drive that is led by young people who use multi player gaming networks and readily available technology like smart phones to reach deep into the gigantic manufacturing plants of china and the wretched recycling factories of India.
    OK, that was too wordy but I’m tired and its’ hard to be concise when I’m tired. I have a difficult part time job now. Even though it is only two days a week it eats up a lot energy. I need the money and it has it’s good points, in that I am being forced to learn new things but it leaves me tired the other days of the week. I need time to take care of my health and to maintain contact with my friends. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for blogging. I still read your posts on my newsfeed every day. All the best


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