More Internet censorship yet in the USA

This 2016 video from Britain says about itself:

Governments can censor access to the web, but how do they restrict access? Sheharbano Khattak, Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory takes us through the methods.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

Facebook and Twitter intensify censorship in 2018 elections

8 November 2018

Stepping up its online censorship less than a day before polls opened for the 2018 mid-term elections, Facebook announced on Monday the shutdown of 115 social media accounts on its Facebook and Instagram platforms. Nathanial Gleicher, Head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook wrote in a newsroom blog post that US law enforcement had “contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities.”

The 30 Facebook and 85 Instagram accounts were blocked, according to Gleicher, because they “may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior” and some of the accounts “appear to be in the French or Russian languages.” Acknowledging the threadbare character of the assertions, Gleicher also wrote that Facebook had not even completed an investigation before shutting down the accounts. He added, “Once we know more—including whether these accounts are linked to the Russia-based Internet Research Agency or other foreign entities—we will update this post.” …

As was the case in August, the latest Facebook censorship moves are specifically directed against left-wing and oppositional content on Facebook that is critical of government policies in the US and UK. Under the cover of unprovable claims of inauthentic behavior—an Orwellian phrase that purports to identify people and organizations who misrepresent themselves on social media—Facebook has dropped any reference to “fake news” and is engaging in outright censorship of free speech.

In a Facebook Newsroom post, Gleicher wrote that the shuttered accounts, groups and pages “posted about politically charged topics such as race relations, opposition to the President, and immigration.” Exposing the preposterous and unsubstantiated claims of Iranian influence, Gleicher added, “It’s still early days and while we have found no ties to the Iranian government, we can’t say for sure who is responsible.”

Gleicher shared examples of several posts taken down by Facebook. Among them was a meme of Donald Trump that stated a well-known fact: “The Worst and Most Hated President in American History!” Another contained a widely reported quote by British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn from December 2015 regarding Trump’s anti-Muslim travel ban: “The idea that somehow or other you can deal with all the problems in the world by banning a particular religious group from entering the USA is offensive and absurd.”

As further justification for shutting down the 30 pages, 33 accounts and three groups on Facebook as well as 16 accounts on Instagram, Gleicher incredibly pointed to $100 in social media advertising and seven events which 110 people expressed interest in attending. He added, “We cannot confirm whether any of these events actually occurred.”

The pre-election censorship moves are the result of a collaboration between members of Facebook’s election “war room”, US and UK government officials and law enforcement, the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Lab and other unnamed technology companies. Facebook now has more than 20,000 people on its staff working on “safety and security” issues and has also engaged a frantic implementation of artificial intelligence technologies aimed at scanning and moderating the social media activity of its nearly two billion users.

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