Facebook censors Arizona teachers’ group

This Associated Press video from the USA says about itself:

Zuckerberg Grilled Over Facebook Role in Myanmar

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) over the company’s role in inciting violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. (April 10 2018)

By Jerry White in the USA:

Facebook censors Arizona educators’ rank-and-file committee group

7 May 2018

Facebook has disabled the Arizona Educators Rank and File Committee group, which was initiated by the WSWS Teacher Newsletter to provide a forum for teachers in Arizona and other states to communicate …

The social media company posted a notice Sunday morning saying, “Group Has Been Disabled” and alleging that “Arizona Educators Rank and File Committee has content that goes against our Community Standards on fraud and spam.” It continued, “Using misleading or inaccurate information to artificially collect likes, followers, or shares is not allowed. Contacting people for commercial purposes without their consent is also not allowed.”

In a letter of protest to Facebook, the WSWS wrote: “We have reviewed your community standards and we are not in violation of any of them. We demand to know in detail what specific standards you alleged we have violated.

“The Arizona Educators Rank and File Committee includes more than 100 members and has provided teachers in Arizona and other states a forum to discuss their fight to defend public education. On what grounds has our Facebook group been flagged and by whom? …

You have not substantiated any of the charges against us. …

“We demand that you immediately reverse your undemocratic decision and allow the Arizona Educators Rank and File group to continue to be a forum for teachers to communicate and coordinate their struggles.” …

Denouncing the threat to permanently delete the Arizona Educators Rank and File Committee group, a teacher from Phoenix, said, “As an international mode of free expression for individuals, groups, and communities, Facebook should not decide what is acceptable for communication, since we live in a country that values all points of view and where it is acceptable and encouraged to voice all opinions and biases. To do otherwise is a form of oppression which should not be tolerated in a democracy that protects free speech.

“I have begun to make connections by speaking and listening to members on this group. I am on board. Censorship cannot be tolerated or ignored. …

“As a history teacher”, another member of the rank-and-file group from Arizona said, “you don’t have to look too far to see how censorship has been used in this country to suppress critical thought, to [not] consider various points of view— and to control the masses into taking on a certain position. The fact that Facebook shut down this site only further reinforces my suspicions that there are some larger, very powerful structures at work here that are looking to dismantle public education.”

In the name of fighting “fake news”, “Russian meddling” and “divisiveness”, Facebook, Google and other technology monopolies, along with the Democratic Party and the military-intelligence apparatus, are engaging a sweeping attack on free speech on the Internet.

The WSWS has been a particular target because it has increasingly become the center of working-class opposition among autoworkers, teachers and other sections of the working class in the US and internationally. Teachers, all workers and all those opposed to this attack on democratic rights must demand that Facebook reverse its decision and stop its censorship.

Teachers ‘£4K worse off in Tory Britain’. Labour warns schools face crisis without government funding: here.

Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, is looking to open an “internet content control center” in the iconic Torre Glòries in the Spanish city of Barcelona. This modern-day iteration of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth will implement Facebook’s latest “community guidelines” to censor content on the social media platform under the catch-all phrase of “combating fake news”: here.


Facebook boss anti-privacy, pro-censorship

This 11 April 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Amid Privacy Scandal, Is Facebook Profiting off Data from Children & Teens?

During Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s 5-hour testimony to lawmakers Tuesday about the massive privacy scandal enveloping the platform, lawmakers also questioned him about Facebook’s increasing effort to market the platform to children. For more, we speak with Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. The group has launched a campaign to end Facebook Messenger Kids.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thursday, April 12, 2018

United States Facebook boss refuses to commit to protect data privacy

FACEBOOK boss Mark Zuckerberg refused to give a commitment to protect the data privacy of the social media website’s users during an appearance in the US Congress yesterday.

In a tense second day of testimony, Mr Zuckerberg read the same opening statement as he had at the previous day’s hearing, claiming that British political consultancy Cambridge Analytica had “misused” Facebook users’ data, despite the company’s terms of service appearing to give him the right to share, sell and transfer the details.

He refused to pledge to change all users’ default privacy settings to collect the minimum amount of personal data, claiming it was “a complex issue.” …

The billionaire was accused of sticking to a prepared script as he faced further grilling from 44 US senators over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

In Tuesday’s marathon five-hour session, Mr Zuckerberg vowed to fight election meddling, while seeking to blame Russia for an online propaganda war.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg used his appearance Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees to outline a plan for mass censorship on the world’s largest social media platform. Zuckerberg explained how every single statement made by the company’s 2.2 billion users is analyzed and vetted by artificial intelligence systems, then reviewed by an army of some 20,000 censors. If the company finds a statement to be “sensational” or “divisive”, the user will be flagged as a “bad actor”, and either have their posts blocked, be reported to the government, or both: here.

And here’s what you learn when you download the information Facebook has on you.

HAVEN’T SIGNED UP FOR FACEBOOK? Don’t worry, they may still have all sorts of data on you. [Reuters]

Facebook, the world’s largest social media company, spelled out for the first time the criteria it uses to censor speech on its platform, purely at its own discretion, and with no legal oversight or recourse: here.

MARK ZUCKERBERG SAYS FACEBOOK WILL START RANKING NEWS ORGANIZATIONS BY TRUSTWORTHINESS Which will determine placement in the news feed. What could go wrong? [HuffPost]

THE WHATSAPP FOUNDER IS LEAVING FACEBOOK Over “Facebook’s attempts to weaken WhatsApp’s encryption and its desire to collect and use more WhatsApp users’ personal data.” [HuffPost]

Spanish government attacking free speech

This video says about itself:

In Spain: Tweet, Rap And Write At Your Own Risk

14 March 2018

The Spanish right-wing minority government is attacking free speech; and not just in Catalonia.

From the New York Times in the USA:

Spanish Artwork Denounced Political ‘Persecution’. It Was Ordered Removed.


MADRID — Whether by law or intimidation, Spain has become a country where the risks of free expression have quietly mounted in recent years.

Puppeteers have been prosecuted for inciting terrorism. So have a 21-year-old Twitter user, a poet and some musicians, including the 12 members of a band. A much criticized law has made it illegal to film the faces of police officers on the streets, and sharply restricts public gatherings.

On Wednesday, the chill entered the realm of contemporary art, when Madrid’s main exhibition center ordered that a work labeling Catalonia’s separatist leaders as political prisoners be removed from an international arts fair.

Rapper jailed for three and a half years after criticising Spanish royal family. The Spanish Supreme Court ruled his work contained glorification of terrorism, slander, ‘lèse-majesté’ (defamation against the crown): here.

Spain fails to turn page on Franco’s legacy of censorship. Phrases and even entire pages are still missing from books by writers such as Orwell and Hemingway: here.

YouTube censors German anti-fascist video

This 3 February 2018 German video by Analyse der Politik (Political Analysis) is called Aktuell: #120db: Das “Politikum”, was der AfD aber auch den Altparteien nutzen soll – Lobbyismus.

By Johannes Stern in Germany:

YouTube censors video opposing far-right Alternative for Germany

10 February 2018

One week ago, YouTube blocked a video opposing the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD).

The anti-AfD video by the left-wing, socialist channel “Political Analysis” remained blocked for a number of hours. The video shows how right-wing groups exploited the murder of a young German girl by an Afghani youth at the end of last year to whip up a pogrom-type sentiment against refugees. The video ends with the words: “For over two years you have been agitating against refugees day and night, as if there was nothing else going on. This is as miserable as the political consensus today…”

The video was evidently censored following appeals by far-right circles to YouTube. In a message, the editor of the channel, Andreas Niess, told his audience: “YouTube sent me its stupid STANDARD message, so much for community rules. They did not even check the video, but blocked it. Just because the right-wing trolls have fun reporting my videos in response to their content. YouTube has become an anti-social platform where racists and fascists spread their trash every day.”

Niess told the World Socialist Web Site that right-wing activists had declared they would report his videos to YouTube shortly before the suspension came into effect. Niess could not confirm that the recently passed Network Enforcement Act (NetzDG) was used to censor his video. “But it could be that it played a role.” Typically, there was “no information” about who or what was behind the decision. The blocking of the video was justified under the rubric “bullying and stalking” and originally was due “to run for three months.”

The fact that YouTube has censored a channel that sharply attacks the witch-hunts of right-wing extremists confirms the warnings made by the World Socialist Web Site. Under the pretext of combating “fake news”, “hate speech” or “bullying and stalking” on the Internet, it is mainly leftist and socialist anti-war websites which are being suppressed. Since the end of April, Google (the parent company of YouTube), in close coordination with German government circles, has been censoring leftist and progressive websites, including the World Socialist Web Site.

The ruling class is pursuing the same goal with its NetzDG law, which was drafted by Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (Social Democratic Party, SPD) and passed by the grand coalition government. It has been in force since January 1. In recent weeks, left-wing sites and material have been repeatedly censored, including Twitter messages from the satirical magazine Titanic directed against the AfD, and anti-fascist posts by the well-known Berlin street artist Barbara.

“Political Analysis” is a YouTube channel with over 7,000 subscribers that campaigns against war and in favour of socialism. The current logo of the channel is a graphic with the inscription “No war on Syria.” The top of the page shows the three last presidents of the United States, George Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, each labeled with the words “war” and “world war.” It also states: “There is a worldwide crisis of capitalism. Cause: Capitalism. Solution: Socialist Revolution. Duty: Independent working class. Duty: Fall of capitalism.”

“Political Analysis” regularly posts articles from the World Socialist Web Site and provides information about its activities. In recent days, there have been links to WSWS articles on the growing strike wave in Germany and the appeal by the Socialist Equality Party (SGP) “For the expansion of the strike and new elections.” In mid-January, Andreas Niess also promoted the webinar on internet censorship, featuring journalist Chris Hedges and WSWS Chairman David North.

Against a background of growing popular resistance to war and austerity, the ruling class is desperately trying to suppress political views that reject the official political line of the government, military, and intelligence services. The next federal government has already announced it will intensify censorship of the internet.

The SPD and CDU/CSU expressly support the NetztDG in their draft program for a new edition of a grand coalition. The document describes the law as a “real and important step in combating hate crime and criminal social media.” It is already clear that the law will increasingly be used to censure left-wing and socialist content on the internet. The NetzDG falls under the jurisdiction of the legal committee of the Bundestag, which—with the support of all the parliamentary parties—is headed by a member of the AfD.

These dangerous developments underline the importance of the appeal by the WSWS for an international coalition against internet censorship. Opposition must be mobilised against the alliance of the political establishment, multibillion-dollar internet corporations and extreme right-wing circles that is determined to abolish the right to freedom of expression on the internet and erect a capitalist police state in the 21st century.

USA: YouTube Won’t Ban Neo-Nazi Group Linked To Blaze Bernstein’s Murder: here.