Tag Archive for ‘Censorship’

Remember AltStore? ➝

Bill Ottman of Minds recently revealed that the social network’s application was at risk of being removed from the Google Play Store. Their developers pushed a version that removed search, discover, and comment functionality, which was accepted. They also released an update for iOS to match the changes on Android — I suspect in anticipation of similar concerns from Apple.

I’m not too familiar with Minds, I’ve only really heard about it in the past week or so. But from what I’ve seen, it seems fairly tame when compared to very easily discoverable content on Twitter, which doesn’t even seem close to being at risk of App Store removal.

But in my poking around Minds, I saw Bill Ottman mention AltStore — an application and service that smooths out the rough edges for sideloading apps on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV. I forgot it even existed.

But now I’m curious about how much of a role AltStore could have going forward. And how welcoming they’ll be to some of these more controversial social applications.

If the folks at Parler or Minds start releasing their apps in AltStore, will Apple make more of an effort to prevent the sort-of loop hole from being utilized? Will there be pressure on Apple to allow apps from non-App Store sources? Will their be similar pressure in the opposite direction?

➝ Source: altstore.io

Fighting Turkey’s Twitter Ban With DNS Graffiti ➝

This story from 2014 keeps coming to mind. I fear we’re much closer to this than we think.

We need to de-escalate.

➝ Source: mashable.com

The Danger of Platforms Categorizing Content as Misinformation ➝

Patrick Collison, writing on Twitter:

These platforms have tough jobs, no doubt. But I’m worried that the embrace of “misinformation” as a newly illegitimate category may have costs that are considerably greater than what’s apparent at the outset.

It’s dangerous for platforms to categorize content as “misinformation”, label it as such, and/or suppress its reach. What if they get it wrong? What if a commonly held opinion is the exact opposite of the truth and the people that are trying to share the evidence are being suppressed?

Perhaps you trust the current team in charge of classification, but what happens when those members are filtered out and a new group with more nefarious motives take over?

How can you be sure that you’re getting accurate information when it’s being filtered by a company that’s primarily motivated by “engagement”?

➝ Source: mobile.twitter.com

YouTube Will Remove Videos Alleging Voter Fraud Changed Election Outcome ➝

From YouTube’s weblog:

Yesterday was the safe harbor deadline for the U.S. Presidential election and enough states have certified their election results to determine a President-elect. Given that, we will start removing any piece of content uploaded today (or anytime after) that misleads people by alleging that widespread fraud or errors changed the outcome of the 2020 U.S. Presidential election, in line with our approach towards historical U.S. Presidential elections.

Setting aside any of the existing litigation and accusations of fraud in this year’s election, imagine if you were an official with first-hand knowledge and evidence of widespread voter fraud. YouTube wouldn’t let you share that information on their platform. That feels absurd to me.

When did it become cool to favor limitations and restrictions on speech? I feel like ten years ago, we would be collectively outraged over this.

➝ Source: blog.youtube

Unmasking Twitter ➝

Michael Tsai, on Twitter’s decision to censor tweets that go “directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information”:

Obviously, there is a lot of misinformation out there, and they don’t want Twitter to be overrun with it. But some information from health and government sources has turned out to be incorrect, and different authoritative sources don’t always agree with one another. Some potential treatments are approved in certain jurisdictions but banned in others. Knowledge is evolving by the day, but nothing is going to be truly verified scientifically until after this is all over.

This is my line of thinking when social media companies introduce and/or enforce rules like this. For some topics, like COVID-19, the recommendations from various government and scientific sources are contradictory. And more broadly, the people making the definitive decisions about what tweets are deemed false or misleading are often guilty of their own biases.

Unfortunately, this is the path that we have to take. If only because advertisers will demand it — they don’t want to see their brand promoted next to anything they consider to be misleading, incorrect, dangerous, or objectionable. But hopefully we’ll all eventually move away from these platforms, before things get too bad, toward a more open web where each of us share our ideas on our own domains.

➝ Source: mjtsai.com

UK Internet Filter May Censor More Than Expected ➝

It’s a slippery slope.

Google Will No Longer Censor Search Results in China ➝

Google is taking a strong stand against censorship. I’m glad that a large company is finally willing to cease operations in China if they are not able to legally run their business the way they’d like to.

Google senior vice president David Drummond:

We have decided we are no longer willing to continue censoring our results on Google.cn, and so over the next few weeks we will be discussing with the Chinese government the basis on which we could operate an unfiltered search engine within the law, if at all. We recognize that this may well mean having to shut down Google.cn, and potentially our offices in China.

He also reveals that there was a large-scale attack that attempted to gain access to Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights advocates. Drummond doesn’t come right out and say it but implies that the attack was the work of the Chinese government.

I hope that other search engines and web companies decide to follow Google’s lead.