According to YouTube itself, as many as 6.1 million videos have been deleted from the platform since the start of this year alone, mostly coinciding with an unprecedented wave of online censorship launched at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
YouTube is not alone in this, as other major social networks started strictly policing speech of users in order to allow only information about the disease favored by governments and the World Health Organization (WHO), from whom most governments get their cues.
Things deteriorated even further when racial and social unrest hit the US later in the year, causing a surge in online cancel culture and grandstanding by big brands, who demanded even more censorship, this time of hate speech.
As things began to go from bad to worse, traditional corporate media didnt seem to mind very much at all. Now, however, some of them are looking at the price that the ramping up of censorship.
Double your web browsing speed with today's sponsor. Get Brave.
But still, the likes of the Washington Post dont seem to care much about ordinary users entrusting their speech and data to social media giants: the concern is focused on what removal of such massive quantities of content, and the process by which this is done, cold end up doing to some activists and NGOs (at least, ones they like). And they argue in favor of deleted data to be publicly unavailable but retained for study.
Theres the example of the Syrian Archive, which is said to be dedicated to collecting information about human rights abuses in Syria and other countries. The group says that they and others are getting caught in the censorship dragnet that is supposed to be removing misinformation, as well as opposition voiced by users who disagree with the way these crises are being handled.
Its not exactly news, but tech giants overreliance on automated, machine learning-powered algorithms to get the job done is not working well. These algorithms are still effectively basic and really bad with understanding context, therefore resulting in unintended censorship.
The author of the report seems to think that more involvement from human moderators would fix the problem (and also, that they had to be sent home during the epidemic and were for that reason working less than usual?) However, its amply clear that moderators come with a set of their own problems, unique to humans: such as bias. So, maybe the answer is to pump the brakes on rampant censorship and not rely so heavily on either machines or moderators?
That, of course, is not an idea the Washington Post is willing to entertain. Instead, the Covid and civil upheaval era censorship is viewed as fully justified if only it could somehow bypass the Syrian Archive and other activists and journalists in war-torn regions.
But it isnt, since Facebooks moderation is apparently poor at telling apart documented war crimes and atrocities from users posting such content to promote it. However, Facebook says that in cases when accounts are deleted for this type of offense, they are also restored.
Syria-focused activists are not having a great time on YouTube either this year, saying that the number of deleted uploads has doubled. For its part, YouTube cited its infamous policy of allowing users to issue counter takedown notices, and claimed that human reviewers actually deal with this (not a statement many creators who have been burned in the process, without ever receiving even an explanation of what it was they had done wrong, would necessarily agree with.)
The Syrian Archive and more that 40 other groups have pleaded with social media giants not to permanently delete content related to human rights activism, and that data on content removed during the pandemic will be invaluable to those working in public health, human rights, science and academia.
Others are worried about YouTubes lack of transparency that leads to guesswork as to the overall extent of automated moderations effect on legitimate content.
The argument in favor of preserving data instead of deleting it was heard in April and boils down to keeping this data for future research into how online information can affect health outcomes and to evaluate the consequences of specific moderation practices like using heavy automation.
Another request from a letter sent to giant social networks was to be transparent about the way content is removed, how successful any appeals are, and the like. The signatories acknowledge privacy implications of long data retention and making it only available to a select group of researchers but add that the need for immediate preservation is urgent.
- Barcelona members strike back vs. Bartomeu: What does 'motion of censorship' mean, and what's next? - ESPN - September 18th, 2020
- What the *, Nintendo? This in-game censorship is * terrible. - EFF - September 18th, 2020
- Social media censorship in Egypt targets women on TikTok - The World - September 18th, 2020
- Trumps Partial TikTok And WeChat Ban Tip-Toes Into Chinese-Style Censorship - Forbes - September 18th, 2020
- Judd Apatow Criticizes Hollywood's Censorship For International Market: China Has Bought Our Silence With Their Money - Deadline - September 18th, 2020
- Bangladesh in the Shadow of Censorship The Diplomat - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Why is the government pushing unprecedented online censorship? - Telegraph.co.uk - September 18th, 2020
- Not Content to Censor Conservatives, Zuckerberg Now Seeks to Meddle in Election - National Legal and Policy Center - September 18th, 2020
- New Alliance to Track and Fight Censoring of Conservatives - CBN News - September 18th, 2020
- Reading the Evolution of Censorship and Sedition in India - The Wire - September 18th, 2020
- China's Influence on the Global Human Rights System - Human Rights Watch - September 18th, 2020
- China Isn't Hiding the Border Tensions With India From Its Public Anymore - The Diplomat - September 18th, 2020
- Censorship - Wikipedia - September 6th, 2020
- What Is Censorship? | American Civil Liberties Union - September 6th, 2020
- Call Trumps Attacks On The 1619 Project What They Are Censorship of American History - Forbes - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is bringing an updated content censorship term for its users from October 1st - Digital Information World - September 6th, 2020
- Will Joe Rogan Have The Guts To Call Out Spotify For 'Censorship'? - CCN.com - September 6th, 2020
- Joe Rogans Spotify move condemned by fans over right-wing censorship claims - The Independent - September 6th, 2020
- Shadow banning and its role in modern day censorship - Cherwell Online - September 6th, 2020
- Apple reacts to censorship censure - Mobile World Live - September 6th, 2020
- TunnelBear Circumvents Iran VPN Block, Launches 10GB Monthly Offer in the Country - Business Wire - September 6th, 2020
- Facebook is changing its Terms of Service, and users are not happy - Windows Central - September 6th, 2020
- End the blacklist of the World Socialist Web Site on Reddit! - WSWS - September 6th, 2020
- Kahle: Upholding the public trust - The Register-Guard - September 6th, 2020
- Science protections must be enforceable | TheHill - The Hill - September 6th, 2020
- Reddit isnt happy about President Trumps anti-censorship executive order - Reclaim The Net - September 6th, 2020
- Forget TikTok. Chinas Powerhouse App Is WeChat. - The New York Times - September 6th, 2020
- The shaky upcoming national election environment can be fixed - JNS.org - September 6th, 2020
- Censorship on social media? It's not what you think - CBS News - September 4th, 2020
- Kyle Rittenhouse lawyer Lin Wood threatens to sue Twitter over censorship - Reclaim The Net - September 4th, 2020
- Finding human territory in a fractured world - The Tech - September 4th, 2020
- We dont believe in censorship: Controversial Aboriginal commentator to lead WA festival amid fear of backlash from Noongar people - WAtoday - September 4th, 2020
- How WeChat Censored the Coronavirus Pandemic - WIRED - August 28th, 2020
- Voter Advocacy Orgs Sue Trump Administration for Executive Order Threatening Social Media Censorship - EFF - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait eases censorship laws after banning 5000 titles in last 7 years - The Indian Express - August 28th, 2020
- Buffy's Amber Benson on censorship, the musical, and Tara's death - digitalspy.com - August 28th, 2020
- Kuwait relaxes book censorship laws after banning thousands of titles - The Guardian - August 28th, 2020
- Film and Publications Amendment Act: Protecting, not censoring, our citizens in the digital age - Daily Maverick - August 28th, 2020
- Chinas wrath on Hong Kong is causing artists to self-censor - Reclaim The Net - August 28th, 2020
- Here are 5 excuses liberals have put forward in defence of modern day book burning, and why it makes them look like total morons - OpIndia - August 28th, 2020
- Jessie and Austins aunt vs TikTok the debate around censorship of Bodies in the Suitcase video - HITC - August 28th, 2020
- Artists Ai Weiwei and Fang Fang's depictions of the Wuhan lockdown - DW (English) - August 28th, 2020
- A Radioactive Plague: The secrecy and censorship surrounding civilian deaths from World War II - Milwaukee Independent - August 10th, 2020
- Censorship on the internet in 2020: The potential effects of TikTok - Film Daily - August 10th, 2020
- Wicker: Time to address online censorship - The Vicksburg Post - Vicksburg Post - August 10th, 2020
- Open Technology Fund Authorization Act - BORGEN - Borgen Project - August 10th, 2020
- The Logic of a US WeChat Ban - The Diplomat - August 10th, 2020
- Ben Domenech Clashes With Joe Trippi Over Censorship Of Trump's Social Media - The Federalist - August 10th, 2020
- German Analysis Institute Regrets Censorship of a Professional Science Assertion - The Shepherd of the Hills Gazette - August 10th, 2020
- China Is Upgrading Its Great Firewall And Can Now Censor Even More Content - News18 - August 10th, 2020
- Twitter censors all links to BitChute - Reclaim The Net - August 10th, 2020
- Fear of Authoritarian Regimes Is Pushing the Film Industry to Self-Censor - Foreign Affairs Magazine - August 10th, 2020
- Facebook is wrong to censor Donald Trump - The Spectator USA - August 10th, 2020
- Education, not censorship, must be used to tackle online antisemitism - The Jerusalem Post - August 10th, 2020
- Why Did Facebook Censor This Video Of President Trump? - The Hayride - August 10th, 2020
- Lawyer concerned that 'internet censorship bill' may be used as a political tool - CapeTalk - August 10th, 2020
- Brother Nut, the Artist, Taking Vow of Silence to Protest Chinas Censorship - VOA Asia - August 8th, 2020
- Researchers slowly discover censorship doesnt work - Reclaim The Net - August 8th, 2020
- Setlist: Wiley, Twitter and the online censorship debate - Complete Music Update - August 8th, 2020
- The line between legislating in opposition to disinformation and censorship could be very skinny - Pledge Times - August 8th, 2020
- Hollywood Is "Increasingly Normalizing" Self-Censorship for China, Report Finds - Hollywood Reporter - August 7th, 2020
- Rep. Buck wants Twitter's Jack Dorsey to testify about 'censorship of conservatives' and 'cozy' relationshi... - Fox News - August 7th, 2020
- Lee says Google, Facebook and Twitter are censoring conservative voices - Deseret News - August 7th, 2020
- The White Houses plan to purge Chinese tech from the internet is just bluster for now - The Verge - August 7th, 2020
- Is the Gov't Outsourcing Censorship Duties to FB & Google? - The Jewish Voice - August 7th, 2020
- Doctors' cries of censorship become part of their message - Poynter - August 6th, 2020
- Turkey takes Germany's hate speech law, and makes it much worse with its own censorship and data localization rules - Privacy News Online - August 6th, 2020
- Op-ed: Censorship and higher taxes won't create more Apples, Amazons, Facebooks and Googles - CNBC - August 6th, 2020
- Pence Says Administration Will 'Lean Into' Issue of Tech Censorship - Newsmax - August 6th, 2020
- GreatFire introduces app maker to bypass Chinas censorship - Reclaim The Net - August 6th, 2020
- Facebook removes pro-Trump ad aimed at Joe Biden, claiming false information - Fox News - August 6th, 2020
- #SavetheChildren Ban? Facebook Censors 'Save the Children' - Heavy.com - August 6th, 2020
- Censorship or fighting disinformation? Russia to use AI to create controversial fake news filter, as Facebook efforts stall - RT - August 6th, 2020
- The Italian journalist sets fire to Instagram bordering on censorship with her first bath - Explica - August 6th, 2020
- Facebook censors hydroxychloroquine praise, even in countries where its an official treatment - Reclaim The Net - August 6th, 2020
- Theft, censorship and the emperors of the online economy: Tech CEOs go on defense - POLITICO - August 4th, 2020
- How the New York Times profits from self-censorship - The Spectator USA - August 4th, 2020
- Some Facebook mods support the ads boycott, call for more censorship - Reclaim The Net - August 4th, 2020
- South Park: Why Episodes "200" and "201" Were Banned - Screen Rant - August 4th, 2020
- Free speech risk as university staff feel need to censor pro-Brexit views - The Scotsman - August 4th, 2020