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Jailed for a Facebook post: 19-Year-Old Justin Carter, State Sensitivity and the Half-Million-Dollar Bail

By |2016-01-14T11:51:33-05:00July 10th, 2013|Blog|

Justin Carter, 19, was jailed for a Facebook comment Have you ever lost your temper and said something in the heat of the moment you later came to regret? Did you end up waiting 5 months in jail for a trial because your family couldn’t make your half million dollar bail? That’s exactly what Justin Carter’s family and [...]

Wrestling with internet hate speech

By |2019-03-15T17:24:09-04:00June 7th, 2013|Blog|

In the coming weeks we will be featuring posts from our smart and savvy summer interns. This post is by programs intern Eli Siems. Eli is a recent graduate of SUNY New Paltz with a degree in English. He is passionate about literature in all forms, particularly poetry, and his love of letters has led him to join the fight to protect [...]

“User Generated Censorship” Talk at Knight Foundation

By |2019-03-14T17:46:56-04:00August 1st, 2012|Blog|

NCAC board member Chris Peterson gave an excellent presentation --as part of a MIT Civic Ignite program with the Knight Foundation-- on how "user generated censorship" can emerge in social media like Digg and Facebook . Chris' talk starts at about 9:43 but the whole video is full of great information for free speech defenders. Update: You can watch a [...]

The Privacy Network

By |2016-01-15T11:05:33-05:00August 3rd, 2011|Blog|

As Facebook continues to dominate the social media sphere, new competitors emerge to challenge the weaknesses apparent in its design.  One of the most recent of this breed is the social networking site Pidder. Drawing on fears of data-mining and even “social media background checks”, Pidder focuses on privacy protection to a user-unfriendly extreme. After using Pidder we concluded [...]

Facebook Doesn’t “Like” Nude Art

By |2019-03-07T21:50:55-05:00February 23rd, 2011|News|

(image from artinfo.com) It turns out that the enclosure of the World Wide Web into propriety social networks like Facebook has a downside, as the global art community is discovering. Facebook's censors reviewers have repeatedly disabled accounts for posting images of Gustave Courbet's iconic 1866 painting, "The Origin Of The World", a frank and naturalistic portrait of a woman's genitalia. [...]

Plano School District Decides Not To Ban Art Textbook

By |2019-03-13T15:39:52-04:00November 19th, 2010|Blog|

Last week, the Plano Independent School District in Texas decided to pull a humanities textbook that is used by freshmen and sophomores in the district's gifted and talented program. The book in question, Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities: Alternative Volume, is a survey of various pieces of artwork throughout history.  Apparently, a couple was concerned that their [...]

Song of Solomon Prevails in Franklin Township!

By |2019-03-07T23:19:46-05:00July 9th, 2010|Blog|

After a long and drawn-out challenge process, this week Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon finally prevailed in Franklin Township!  The denouement to this extended drama came down to a special convening of the Franklin Township school board set for this past Monday evening (July 6th).  No one knew how it would turn out.  New members of the school board, whose [...]

Website tracks online censorship reports

By |2019-03-13T18:19:29-04:00August 6th, 2009|Blog|

Having trouble accessing a website?  Suspect it might be more than just a faulty connection or technical malfunction? Visit Herdict.org, a website designed to track reports of censored web sites around the world.  There, you can report  anonymously that a site is inaccessible and see if other people are having the same problem.  There is no way to determine whether [...]

Facebook Reveals the Corporate Face of the Associated Press

By |2019-03-13T15:04:20-04:00June 26th, 2009|Blog|

The media never looked more corporate.  After reprimanding a reporter for posting a comment critical of the company’s investment decisions, the Associated Press has come out with a new policy governing the use of social networking sites.  Among the AP’s requirements for all employees, not just reporters, is: Posting material about the AP’s internal operations is prohibited on employees’ personal [...]

Woman sues Facebook over user generated content

By |2019-03-13T15:13:47-04:00March 6th, 2009|Blog|

Again? Another plaintiff ignores Section 230 of the CDA and sues a website over user generated content SUNY Albany freshman Denise Finkel is suing four former high school classmates, their parents, and Facebook, Inc. over the allegedly defamatory content contained in a private Facebook group the classmates had set up. (Finkel v. Facebook, Inc., 102578-09 (N.Y. Supreme Ct. complaint filed [...]

E-condoms = E-ducation

By |2019-03-13T15:15:08-04:00February 19th, 2009|Blog|

Facebook users now can send e-condoms to their online friends compliments of the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.  In a world of abstinence only education, where many public health departments focus on suppressing information about safe sex, I applaud NYC’s bold move to provide accurate, lifesaving information to teenagers. While there are some flaws in the design – [...]

Nipplephobia – Facebook and beyond

By |2019-03-07T13:49:11-05:00January 14th, 2009|Blog|

The latest scandal around Facebook's ban on images of nursing mothers, which show a glimpse of the areola or nipple, only presents us with the latest case of nipplephobia - an extreme panic reaction at the view of the female nipple (to my knowledge the male nipple fails to exert such power). Facebook's action was a misguided enforcement of its [...]

The First Amendment and the Internet

By |2019-03-12T18:24:57-04:00January 9th, 2009|Blog|

Gene Policinski of the First Amendment Center sheds some light on the topic of internet censorship in a recent article in the North Country Gazette. He argues that, while the first amendment does not apply to private companies, privately owned internet companies have an unprecedented amount of control over the speech of large groups of people. For hundreds of millions [...]

Who’s censoring Facebook: The powers that be or the forces of the mob?

By |2019-03-12T18:25:12-04:00January 6th, 2009|Blog|

Recently, there have been reports that content involving the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict is mysteriously disappearing from Facebook. The Jewish Internet Defense Force (JIDF) has complained that “many threads in various pro-Israel and pro-JIDF groups have mysteriously disappeared,” while others have complained that anti-Zionist content has disappeared, and one girl alleged that Facebook has prevented her from using hashtags such as [...]

Breast-feeding photos censored on Facebook

By |2019-03-07T22:31:48-05:00December 30th, 2008|Blog|

Mothers International Lactation Campaign (MILC) protested in front of Facebook headquarters after photos of mothers breastfeeding their children were removed from Facebook. Facebook said the images violated the terms of agreement (see also: Lori Drew). Heather Farley, a protest organizer, responded that Utah state law, for example,  doesn't consider breastfeeding obscene and that Facebook should change its policy to allow [...]

Schools to monitor online activities of students

By |2019-03-12T18:26:31-04:00December 29th, 2008|Blog|

There’s a push nationwide to monitor and punish students’ online behavior. According to the Des Moines Register, West Burlington is believed to be the first Iowa school district to consider including cyberspace as part of its student conduct policy, which says bad behavior can sideline children from sports, dances and other school activities. The plan not only raises the hackles [...]

High School Censorship Poll

By |2019-03-07T22:31:36-05:00December 12th, 2008|Blog|

[polldaddy poll=1188091] Sherman Alexie book pulled Student sues for Facebook suspension RENT cancelled by director Bumper sticker suspension upheld Censored Girl, Interrupted replaced

Former Student Sues School After Suspension for creating Facebook Page

By |2019-03-12T18:27:55-04:00December 11th, 2008|Blog|

In November 2007 Katherine Evans, a senior at Pembroke Pines Charter High created a Facebook group criticizing her teacher. Three other students weighed in to comment: all supporting the teacher. Two days later Evans took down the page. Two months later, the school principal Peter Bayer told Evans that she would be suspended for three days for “bullying and cyberbullying [...]