Website News

 2012: July-Sept



 Offsite Article: I'll Bite Your Ear Off...


Link Here 28th September 2012
Taunts on Facebook cited by judge as contributing to violent assault

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Google pulls political YouTube video...


Link Here 28th September 2012
After Google's exec in Brazil was briefly detained by police

See article from mybroadband.co.za

 

 Offsite Article: Google official arrested in Brazil...


Link Here 27th September 2012
YouTube used in an election slanging match and it's the messenger that gets shot

See article from cbsnews.com

 

 Offsite Article: Judge orders arrest of Brazil Google president...


Link Here 26th September 2012
A judge has ordered the arrest of Google's president in Brazil after the company didn't take down Youtube videos alleging that a mayoral candidate is guilty of crimes

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Update: Nipplegate...

Facebook take down New Yorker cartoon over a couple of nipple dots in an Adam and Eve cartoon


Link Here 11th September 2012  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
mick setevens cartoon The New Yorker has a Facebook page for cartoons.

It got temporarily banned from Facebook for supposedly violating their community standards on Nudity and Sex, by posting this Mick Stevens cartoon.

The artist redrew the cartoon with a clothed Adam and Eve, but somehow it didn't quite work. Still, at least it kept the nutters of Facebook happy.

 

  Bedaz Root Rate...

Australians given suspended jail sentences for Facebook page rating women


Link Here 22nd August 2012

Facebook logo Two men from Australia's Victoria state have been given suspended jail sentences for supposed derogatory postings on Facebook.

They had created a Facebook page which allowed users to rate the sexual prowess of women. The page in question was called Bendaz Root Rate . [ Bendaz is a name].

The two men lived in a town called Bendigo and created the page after seeing similar efforts for other towns. They ran afoul of authorities after the page was noticed and its contents found to contain derogatory commentary that mentioned people well below the age of consent.

The Bendigo Magistrate's Court today deemed the content fell under the provisions of Australia's Criminal Code that prohibit using a carriage service to offend, or publishing offensive material on an information network. The prosecutors claimed that the material could do lasting damage to those it mentioned, and was not merely embarrassing.

One the men was barred from using Facebook for two years. The men were given suspended jail sentences of 6 and 4 months.

 

  Party Poopers...

Germany wants Facebook to pay for policing parties organised via its website


Link Here 11th August 2012

Facebook logo German politicians are mulling over a law to make Facebook pay for when police break up parties advertised on the social network.

Reinhold Gall, interior minister of the southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, said:

A commercial internet platform that makes something like this possible also carries a large measure of responsibility.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann added:

Facebook does not meet its responsibilities to protect its users, if the only difference between an invitation to friends and the whole world is just one mouse-click. Facebook has a duty to protect its users and the public with appropriate warnings and preventative measures.

Some mass parties descended into chaos in Germany when hosts did not realise their invitations had reached the entire network rather than just their friends. But one youth who invited 1,500 people to a rave-up on the shores of Lake Constance was fined 200,000 after a massive police operation to stop it going ahead.

Rainer Wendt, chairman of the German Police Union, said:

If you invite people to a Facebook party that sparks a police intervention, you will have to pay the costs.

 

 Updated: Driving Through Silly Point...

Kevin Pietersen calls for Twitter parody account to be censored


Link Here 10th August 2012

kevin pietersen Cricketing superstar Kevin Pietersen has stood up to some of the world's most awesome bowlers, but he seems to be left quaking at the thought of a little body line bowling via Twitter.

A parody account, @kevpietersen24 , is wickedly observed and, providing you have an English sense of humour, is extremely funny.

Some of the in-jokes suggest a source close to the team and Pietersen has been hurt by it enough to get his lawyers to try to close it down.

They could not, though they did succeed in getting the original avatar, a picture of KP at his most gauche with skunk hairdo circa 2005, replaced.

Speculation has raged as to who the authors of the Twitter account are with Pietersen keenest to find out. That he is offended by their exaggerated claims, especially when they refer to him in the third person as KP Genius , suggests he already has a distorted sense of self.

Unless Andy Flower or the England and Wales Cricket Board discover who is behind the fake Twitter account and appeal to their better nature, Pietersen is just going to have put up with a little sledging, or else he'll just have to skulk off to the sub continent.

Update: kevpietersen24 Censored

10th August 2012. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A Twitter account acting as a parody of England's Kevin Pietersen has been taken down from the social media website.

Reports on Wednesday suggested batsman Pietersen believed some of his team-mates were behind the account, which poked fun at the batsman. However, the England team denied having any involvement with the account.

Even though the identity of who is behind the account is unknown, Pietersen is still thought to be unhappy that some members of the squad followed and engaged with it.

Many of the tweets from the account have been sent while Test matches have been in progress, while players have restricted access to mobile phones and the internet during this time as part of International Cricket Council regulations to guard against corruption.

Indeed, a tweet from the account, which has seen the number of its followers more than double since Pietersen's chagrin emerged, said: It doesn't take that woman from 'Murder She Wrote' to work out that this isn't a team mate of KP. I've been tweeting during Tests!

 

  Controversial Humour...

Facebook page of racial jokes riles Australia


Link Here 10th August 2012

Facebook logo A Facebook page filled with racial jokes about aboriginal people has been taken down, after hundreds of people campaigned to have it removed.

SBS reported on the Facebook page, which allows posts with racial memes about Indigenous people. The page was temporarily removed, before re-appearing on the site with a tag noting that the content contained controversial humour .

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy weighed into the debate, saying he thought it should be taken down.

We don't want to live by the same standards that Facebook does, Conroy said: I think it's an offence. It's been reclassified but I think it should be taken down.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke warned the page could be a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act: [The page] potentially does insult and offend, but it probably does more than that. I think the depiction of these images on Facebook actually moves more in to vilifying.

Brisbane resident Jacinta O'Keefe started a change.org petition after a complaint to Facebook failed to result in the removal of the page: It is an openly racist page that is encouraging hate towards Aboriginal people. I find it incredible that Facebook would refuse to remove this page .

The social media site has responded to complaints with the message: After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

But the page ended up being removed anyway as of 6pm 8/8 2012.

 

 Offsite Article: Is not joining Facebook a sign you're a psychopath?...


Link Here 7th August 2012
Some employers and psychologists say staying away from social media is suspicious'

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Dorkland...


Link Here 4th August 2012
Daily Mail group in screeching U-turn on parody tweet persecution

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Update: Bad Policing...

Are police realising that its a crap job arresting little people for trivial insults?


Link Here 1st August 2012  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter

Metropiltan Police badge Police admitted last night that they are being dragged into too many Twitter disputes as a row raged over the decision to arrest a youth who abused Olympic diving star Tom Daley.

The police over reacted and swooped on the home of Reece Messer, 17, at 2.45am yesterday as if he was some sort of highly dangerous master criminal.

Last night, as Dorset police handed the troubled teenager a formal harassment warning, police leaders claimed forces are being dragged into too many petty social media rows.

Officers were asked to look at content 14,000 times on Facebook alone last year and Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, said forces do not have the resources to monitor the internet. He said:

There is legislation which concerns causing harassment, alarm or distress. But can we police the internet when someone upsets someone else?

I don't think we have the resources to do that. We can't have a free-for-all online but we cannot involve the police every time something unpleasant is said.

 

 Updated: The 1936 Berlin Olympics?...

Journalist suspended from twitter after criticising US TV coverage


Link Here 1st August 2012  full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control

Twitter logo Here are three things that NBC prevented their public from being able to watch on network television so far this Olympic Games: live footage of the opening ceremony; live footage of Saturday's swimming showdown between Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte; live footage of the USA men's basketball dream team.

A fourth thing they do not want people to see is the email address of Gary Zenkel, the executive responsible for this shambles. And a fifth thing is my Twitter feed, which over the weekend contained a couple of dozen occasionally uncouth observations about their coverage, several of which were accompanied by the trending hashtag: #NBCfail.

Twitter's guidelines forbid users from publishing what they call private information, including private email addresses . There is plenty of sense in this. But I did not Tweet a private email address. I Tweeted a corporate address for Mr Zenkel, which is widely listed online, and is identical in form to that of tens of thousands of those at NBC.

I was not contacted by NBC or Twitter before my account was suspended.

...Read the full article

Update: Twitter Account Restored

1st August 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk by Guy Adams

[Shortly before 6pm London time] I had received an email from Twitter support, announcing that I was no longer verboten in Twitter-land:

Your account was suspended because a complaint was filed stating that you had violated our terms of service, it read. We have just received an updated notice from the complainant retracting the original request. Therefore, your account has been unsuspended, and no further action is required from you at this time.

...

[Twitter] has yet to properly address growing suspicions that its decision to suspend my account was motivated by a business relationship with NBC. The firms are running a cross-promotion throughout the Olympics. Was that why it chose to ignore its own rules?

Yesterday, the website, which is supposedly dedicated to the democratic flow of conversation, did admit it had actually contacted its corporate partner urging it to complain so that my account could be shut down in the first place. A mea culpa on its blog said last night: We want to apologise for the part of this story we did mess up. The team working closely with NBC around our Olympics partnership did proactively identify a tweet that was in violation of the Twitter rules and encouraged them to file a support ticket with our trust and safety team to report the violation... Our trust and safety team did not know that part of the story and acted on the report as they would any other. We do not proactively report or remove content on behalf of other users no matter who they are. [But close enough that's exactly what they just did!].

Extract: So what are Twitter's censorship rules

1st August 2012. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Twitter's rules, available via its help centre , say:

  • Users must not impersonate others in a manner intended to mislead or deceive others.

  • Tweeters are not allowed to infringe companies' trademarks by either assuming their name or logo as part of their profile. Related Articles

  • Members of the service must not publish other people's private and confidential information -- such as credit card numbers or home address -- without their express permission.

  • People will be permanently suspended from the site if they perpetually send spam or abuse -- which is defined as specific threats of violence against others .

  • And tweeters must not infringe copyright rules, use the site for illegal purposes (adhering to the country's laws from which a person is tweeting) or misuse Twitter verification badges (which denote an account's authenticity with a blue tick).

  • Twitter users must not use obscene or pornographic images in either their profile picture or user background.

...Read the full article

 

 Updated: The 1936 Berlin Olympics?...

A 17 year old arrested for a nasty tweet to athlete Tom Daley


Link Here 1st August 2012  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter

Twitter logo A 17-year-old has been arrested after insulting tweets were sent to Olympic diver Tom Daley accusing him of letting his late father down.

Dorset Police have confirmed the teenager was arrested on suspicion of 'malicious' communications at a guest house in Weymouth following a series of abusive messages.

Daley and his partner Pete Waterfield missed out on a medal \ when they finished fourth in the men's synchronised 10m platform diving event at the Olympics.

Shortly afterwards, Daley retweeted a message from user Rileyy69 which said: You let your dad down i hope you know that.

Daley responded by tweeting: After giving it my all...you get idiot's sending me this...

Rileyy69 apologised: @TomDaley1994 I'm sorry mate i just wanted you to win cause its the olympics I'm just annoyed we didn't win I'm sorry tom accept my apology.

The apologetic messages were interspersed with a stream of expletives and further abuse to other users.

Update: Nastier comments than originally reported

1st August 2012. See article from thedigitalreport.net . Thanks to David

The arrest of the guy tweeting insults to Tom Daley seems to be more about specific, if hardly credible, threats of violence that he made to Daley and at least one other individual.

So it's not just the usual thought police thing this time, though with the cops and CPS having cried wolf enough times with previous stupid Twitter cases...

Offsite Comment: The best response to cruel, offensive or disgusting tweets, is simply to ignore them

1st August 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk by John Kampfner

 

 Update: The 1936 Berlin Olympics?...

Insulting tweets get Swiss footballer sent home


Link Here 31st July 2012  full story: London Olympics 2012...Restrictions and control

Twitter logoThe Swiss Olympic delegation have sent defender Michel Morganella, 23, home from the Games after he posted the message in the wake of the team's 2-1 defeat to South Korea on Sunday.

The star posted the message shortly after the game, saying that South Koreans can go burn and referred to them as a bunch of mongoloids.

Gian Gilli, chef de mission for the Swiss Olympic delegation at the Games, said: Michel Morganella gravely insulted and discriminated against the South Korean people and their football team with his highly offensive comments on Twitter.

We condemn his comments, which are in fundamental violation of the IOC's Olympic charter and Swiss Olympic's own ethics charter.

 

 Update: Facebook Sucks...

More nonsense Facebook censorship


Link Here 29th July 2012  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

facebook bannedAn American woman was banned from Facebook for posting an image of her five-year-old daughter pretending to breastfeed her two-year-old sister.

Lauren Ferrari said Facebook took down the image less than 24 hours after she posted and then banned her from the social network for a week, the KOMO reports.

The mother said Facebook told her she had violated community standards but the mother argued the images were not sexual and asked, What is sexual about breastfeeding?

Stefanie Thomas of Seattle Police Department's Internet Crimes Against Children said while the photo was not child pornography it was an example of poor parenting. She said people should think carefully about what they put online and warned that one an image goes online it is beyond their control:

There's no real way of actually getting that image off the internet. So that's something that this family, that these girls, are going to have to ultimately deal with.

 

 Update: The Only Menace is the CPS...

Twitter Joke conviction quashed on appeal as the tweet lacked 'menace'


Link Here 28th July 2012  full story: Police Twitter Twits...Man charged over terrorism quip on twitter

Old BaileyThe famous Twitter joke conviction of Paul Chambers has been overturned on appeal, bringing welcome clarity to what is and what is not an offence of this type.

On discovering a week before he was due to take a flight that the airport was closed due to adverse weather conditions, he tweeted:

Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I am blowing the airport sky high!!

There was no evidence that this tweet alarmed any of his followers. It was picked up several days later by an employee of the airport, and it was referred to another member of staff, who took did not consider it a credible threat, but as a matter of procedure it was referred to the airport police. They took no action, other than to refer it to South Yorkshire Police.

Chambers was arrested and charged, then later convicted of the offence of sending by a public electronic communication network a message of a menacing character contrary to the Communications Act 2003. He appealed from the Magistrates' Court to the Crown Court, and then to the Divisional Court (part of the High Court).

The Court noted that in order to be menacing, as a matter of fact the people who receive or read it, or may reasonably be expected to do so, feel apprehension or fear. So, if those people instead,

...brush it aside as a silly joke, or a joke in bad taste, or empty bombastic or ridiculous banter, then it would be a contradiction in terms to describe it as a message of a menacing character. In short, a message which does not create fear or apprehension in those to whom it is communicated, or who may reasonably be expected to see it, falls outside this provision, for the very simple reason that the message lacks menace.

A CPS spokesman said: We accept the court's reasoning and consider this to be the end of the matter.

Speaking to Index on Censorship, Paul Chambers said he felt relieved and vindicated by the decision, adding that the case should never have got this far .

Chambers's solicitor David Allen Green said: This shameful prosecution should never have been brought.

 

 Update: Censors and Bullies...

Facebook ban advert for scary anti-bullying campaigner


Link Here 24th July 2012  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

scary guyAn anti-bullying campaigner's ad was banned by Facebook after his heavily-tattooed face was deemed offensive . The ad has attracted more than 10,000 people to join his profile.

Scary Guy (his legal name) gives talks on tackling hate, prejudice and bullying, and not judging on appearances. His is currently touring  Manchester and London schools.

Censors at Facebook told him the ad received negative feedback because his face was provocative . Adding: We take reports of questionable content very seriously.

 

  Minor Minding Data Mining...

Facebook to use data mining techniques to seek out criminal activity


Link Here 16th July 2012

Facebook logoFacebook has announced that it is snooping on postings on the site for signs of criminal activity.

The social network is using its data-mining techniques to scan chats and posts between users with a loose relationship for signs of suspicious behaviour. Content that has been flagged up is then reviewed to determine whether further steps, such as notifying police, are required.

The tool will pay particular interest to users who only recently became friends, have no mutual friends, and have a significant age gap between them. Other factors such as phraseology, geographic location and frequency of contact are also taken into account.

Facebook chief security officer Joe Sullivan told Reuters:

We've never wanted to set up an environment where we have employees looking at private communications, so it's really important that we use technology that has a very low false-positive rate,

 

  You're Only as Old as You Claim...

Twitter ensures users claim to be old enough to follow adult pages


Link Here 16th July 2012

Twitter logoIn order to legally protect brands that advertise products meant for adults, Twitter has launched a new tool that checks the a new follower claims to be old enough to meet restrictions.

Mentioned by Techcrunch this week, Twitter and Buddy Media have partnered to develop an age verification tool that will allow brands to screen out users admit to being too young. For instance, the first time that a user under the age of twenty-one attempts to follow the Coors Light Twitter page, they will be send a direct message through Twitter with a link to an age checking page. Once the user enters the day, month and year of their birthday as well as agree to another privacy policy, they will be able to follow the brand if they claim to be over the age limit. Twitter will retain the claimed age for  future verifications so that the user won't be hassled with repeat requests.

According to Twitter's head of product marking Guy Yalif, he stated We are trusting users to input their valid birth date. We have no plans to self identify their valid birthdate or cross reference this with third-party data.

Buddy Media has been testing the new age verification tool with alcohol brands. In addition to alcohol companies, the pornography industry, gambling organizations and pharmaceutical companies could also start using the age verification tool to protect themselves legally while increasing their advertising budget on Twitter.

 

 Update: Orthodox Homophobia...

Russian christians organise petition to ban Facebook over same sex marriage icons


Link Here 14th July 2012  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

facebook same sex marriage logoAccording to Russia Today, nutters from the Orthodox Church are angry at the Facebook's decision to launch same-sex marriage icons, calling them gay propaganda .

The nutters apparently claim that the icons could make young people tempted to explore homosexuality. In fact, the church in the city of Saratov, southern Russia, asked issued an ultimatum requesting that the social network stop flirting with Sodomites .

The nutters have organised a petition to get Facebook banned in the country. Vladimir Roslyakovsky, leader of the Orthodox public organization, spewed:

We demand only one thing: Facebook should be blocked in the entire country because it openly popularizes homosexuality among minors.

The US goal is that Russians stop having children. [They want] the great nation to turn into likeness of Sodom and Gomorrah, Roslyakovsky said. But I am confident that Russian laws and reasonable citizens will be able to protect their children from a fierce attack of sodomites.

 

 Update: Facebook Acts as Judge, Jury and Executioner...

Facebook condemned by Article 19 for rubbish censorship procedures that were exploited to help hide allegations of torture in Syria


Link Here 8th July 2012  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

article 19 logoFacebook has apologised after it incompetently deleted a free speech group's post on human rights abuses in Syria. The website removed a status update by Article 19, which campaigns for freedom of speech, that linked to a Human Rights Watch report detailing alleged torture in the Arab country.

Dr Agnes Callamard, the executive director of Article 19, accused Facebook of acting like judge, jury and executioner in the way it removes material from the website.

Facebook told the Guardian that the post was mistakenly removed after being reported as containing offensive content. A spokesman said:

The link was reported to Facebook. We assess such reports manually and because of the high volume, occasionally content that shouldn't be taken down is removed by mistake. We're sorry about this. The organisation concerned should try posting the link again.

Dr Agnes Callamard, the executive director of Article 19, was somewhat underwhelmed by Facebook's censorship procedure. She said:

The deletion shows the looming threat of private censorship. We commend Facebook for creating tools to report abuse, but if your post was wrongly deleted for any reason, there is no way to appeal. Facebook don't notify you before deleting a comment and they don't tell you why after they have. Facebook act like judge, jury and executioner.

Facebook is now widely recognised as a quasi-public space and as such has responsibilities when it comes to respecting free speech. They can't just delete content without some kind of transparent and accountable system. International law says that censorship is only acceptable when it is clearly prescribed, is for a legitimate aim -- such as for public health -- and is necessary in a democracy.

 

  Twitter Transparency Report...

Twitter joins Google and reports on pressure from governments and companies to censor tweets


Link Here 3rd July 2012

twitter transparency report Twitter writes on its blog:

Wednesday marks Independence Day here in the United States. Beyond the fireworks and barbecue, July 4th serves as an important reminder of the need to hold governments accountable, especially on behalf of those who may not have a chance to do so themselves.

With that in mind, today we're unveiling our first Twitter Transparency Report. Inspired by the great work done by our peers @Google, the primary goal of this report is to shed more light on:

government requests received for user information, government requests received to withhold content, and DMCA takedown notices received from copyright holders.

The report also provides insight into whether or not we take action on these requests.

One of our goals is to grow Twitter in a way that makes us proud. This ideal informs many of our policies and guides us in making difficult decisions. One example is our long-standing policy to proactively notify users of requests for their account information unless we're prohibited by law; another example is transmitting DMCA takedown notices and requests to withhold content to Chilling Effects. These policies help inform people, increase awareness and hold all involved parties----including ourselves----more accountable; the release of our first Transparency Report aims to further these ambitions.

We've received more government requests in the first half of 2012, as outlined in this initial dataset, than in the entirety of 2011. Moving forward, we'll be publishing an updated version of this information twice a year.

Twitter reports for the first half of 2012

  • 849 requests for information about 1181 users of which 63% were at least partially provided
  • 3379 copyright take down requests covering 5874 accounts. 38% of the requests were enacted removing 5275 tweets and 599 media items