Facebook launches 'Moments' knockoff inside China without branding, but with state approval

Looks like Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook have been working with the government of China to discreetly roll out a photo sharing service that's basically 'Moments' lite. Just one thing. It carries absolutely zero Facebook branding. And another. It appears designed not to piss China's internet censors off.

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India lost access to the Internet Archive because two Bollywood studios couldn't be bothered with takedowns

The mystery of yesterday's India-wide censorship orders which blocked the Internet Archive from the world's largest democracy has been solved: it was the result of complaints by two Bollywood studios, Prakash Jha Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment, who chose to target infringing copies of their movies by securing an injunction at the High Court of the Judicature at Madras, rather than sending the Internet Archive a takedown notice. Read the rest

India censors access to the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is the Internet Archive's indispensable record of the web itself, containing regular snapshots of a huge slice of the entire web that you can browse in order to see what a given page looked like on a given date. Read the rest

Quackspeak ascendant: China's subject-changing astroturfers rule the Chinese internet

The "50-cent army" is an insanely prolific cadre of government workers whose extra duty is to post hundreds of millions of messages to social media, flooding all available channels with feel-good messages about the accomplishments of Chinese sports teams and the high standard of living in China. Read the rest

Debullshitifying the free speech debate about CNN and Trump's alt-right wrestling GIF

In the wake of CNN threatening to out a critic if he does not limit his speech in the future, former federal prosecutor and First Amendment champion Ken White has published an eminently sensible post about the incoherence of the present moment's views on free speech, and on the way that partisanship causes us to apply a double standard that excuses "our bunch" and damns the "other side." Read the rest

Vidangel is a stupid censorship service and we should welcome it anyway

Vidangel is the latest attempt (along with services like Clearplay and Sony's own filtering tool) to sell a product that allows cringing, easily triggered evangelicals to skip swear words, sex and blasphemy in the media they watch. Read the rest

Germany's new law can fine Facebook, Twitter up to $57-million for hate speech

Starting in October, Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media companies could be fined up to nearly $57-million by Germany for hateful messages posted on their site. The new law, which passed Germany's parliament on Friday, will give a company 24 hours to delete a post that has been flagged as racist, defamatory, or hateful before fining them.

According to The Washington Post:

The measure is seen as a test case in the battle against fake news and online hate, problems bedeviling governments across the West. But Germany's muscular approach has human rights groups worried about a chilling effect on free expression...

Germany has staked out a stance that's among the most vigorous in the world against spurious posts and comments on social media. It also has some of the strictest laws regulating forms of expression seen as encouraging violence. Denying the Holocaust and stirring hatred against minorities are punishable with prison time.

Under the new measure, which takes effect in October, companies have 24 hours to erase illegal content after it is flagged. They have another seven days to sift through messages marked as offensive but not necessarily criminal under German statute. Fines for consistently failing to respond begin at 5 million euros, about $5.7 million, but may go as high as 50 million euros.

According to Germany’s justice minister, Heiko Maas, hate crimes have increased by 300 percent in the past two years, which explains the thinking behind the aggressive new law. But Facebook, critical of the new law, says it “will not improve efforts to tackle this important societal problem.” One thing it does do is destroy free speech, and Germany could set a global trend if their law is deemed "successful."

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EFF trounces Zillow, McMansion Hell will return from copyfraud purgatory

Update: Zillow has dropped all its absurd copyright claims after hearing from EFF and McMansion Hell is coming back!

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has published its letter to Zillow, explaining in eye-watering detail how wrong the company was to threaten the McMansion Hell blog over its use of realtors' glam-shots of shitty houses. Read the rest

Leaked Facebook docs: weird censorship standards that protect "white men but not black children"

Facebook is not responsible for bad speech by its users -- section 230 of the US Telecommunications Act says that libel and other forms of prohibited speech are the responsibility of users, not those who provide forums for users to communicate in -- but it takes voluntary steps to try to keep its service from being a hostile environment for its users, paying 4,500 moderators to delete material the company deems unacceptable. Read the rest

Thailand's thin-skinned king demands Youtube take down Chaplin's "The Great Dictator"

Charlie Chaplin's 1940 movie The Great Dictator features one of the greatest anti-authoritarian speeches of all time, so it's no surprise that Thailand's censorship-crazed king is abusing his country's grotesque lese majeste laws to order Youtube to remove clips of Chaplin's masterpiece. Read the rest

China orders mobile app stores to remove VPN apps

Starting July 1, the official Android and Apple App stores will no longer allow Chinese users to download the VPN apps that Chinese people rely upon in order to get around the Great Firewall of China, which censors information in China and surveils Chinese peoples' use of the net. Read the rest

Watch: Valedictorian who had mic cut off finally gets to finish speech on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Last week, high school valedictorian and class president Peter Butera was giving a speech at his graduation when the school cut off his mic for speaking his mind. But last night, Butera was able to finish his speech to the much larger audience of Jimmy Kimmel Live! Read the rest

Mormon official silences 12-year-old girl in church after she says she's gay

Savannah, a 12-year-old girl, is giving a speech at her Utah church but is interrupted when an official at the church cuts off her microphone and tells her to sit down. He apparently did not like the fact that she was saying that God loved all parts of her.

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Reporters at U.S. Capitol told they are not allowed to film interviews with senators in hallways

In Washington today, a bizarre development that breaks with years of political and press tradition. This can't have anything to do with their secret plan to take away health care, could it?

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A legal victory for the kickstarted Star Trek mashup censored by Dr Seuss's estate

Last October, the Dr Seuss estate used legal threats to halt a wildly successful crowdfunded Seuss/Star Trek mashup called "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go," whose contributors included comics legend Ty Templeton and Tribbles creator David Gerrold. Read the rest

ACT NOW! In 9 days, the European Parliament could pass a truly terrible copyright expansion

When MEP Julia Reda conducted a wide-ranging and open consultation on updating EU copyright, she came up with some great, sensible reforms: making it legal to take pictures of buildings, making it legal to link to newspapers, creating a Europe-wide set of fair dealing exceptions to copyright, capping copyright terms at life-plus-50 years, and making sure that the rights you get to analog media (like the right to give your books and music to your kids when you die) carries over to digital media. Read the rest

Desperate Comcast commits copyfraud in bid to silence its critics

The good people at Fight for the Future established OPERATION COMCASTROTURF to help you figure out if your stolen identity was used to file fake anti-net-neutrality comments with the FCC, but Comcast wants them shut down, and it's prepared to commit barratry to get its way. Read the rest

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