Facebook has said it will start to label potentially harmful posts that it leaves up because of their news value. The move comes as the firm faces growing pressure to censor the content on its platform.
More than 90 advertisers have joined a boycott
of the site, including consumer goods giant Unilever on Friday. The Stop Hate for Profit campaign was started by US civil rights groups after the death of George Floyd in May while in police custody. It has focused on Facebook, which also owns Instagram;
and WhatsApp. The organisers, which include Color of Change and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, have said Facebook allows racist, violent and verifiably false content to run rampant on its platform.
Unilver said it
would halt Twitter, Facebook and Instagram advertising in the US at least through 2020.
In a speech on Friday, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg defended the firm's record of taking down hate speech. But he said the firm was tightening its policies to
address the reality of the challenges our country is facing and how they're showing up across our community. In addition to introducing labels, Facebook will ban ads that describe people from different groups, based on factors such as race or immigration
status, as a threat. He said:
A handful of times a year, we leave up content that would otherwise violate our policies if the public interest value outweighs the risk of harm. Often, seeing speech from politicians is
in the public interest, and in the same way that news outlets will report what a politician says, we think people should generally be able to see it for themselves on our platforms.
We will soon start labelling some of the content
we leave up because it is deemed newsworthy, so people can know when this is the case.
He added that Facebook would remove content - even from politicians - if it determines that it incites violence or suppresses voting.
J'accuse is a 2019 France / Italy historical thriller by Roman Polanski. Starring Jean Dujardin, Louis Garrel and Emmanuelle Seigner.
In 1894, French Captain Alfred Dreyfus is wrongfully
convicted of treason and sentenced to life imprisonment at Devil's island.
Just rior to the coronavirus lockdown Quebec's major distributors announced they would ban cinema showings of Roman Polanski's J'accuse ( An Officer and a Spy ),
whether out of fear of reprisals from the #MeToo campaign or in deference to the movement's anti-democratic arguments. News of the ban susbequently got lost as the cinemas weren't open to notice that the film wasn't being screened.
It should be noted
that despite the efforts of the Macron government and #MeToo's feminists to intimidate audiences and have J'accuse banned, the film was extremely popular in France--by the end of February 1.5 million people had viewed it in that country.
Polanski's film is a truthful and poignant reconstruction of the Dreyfus Affair that shook French society between 1894 and 1906. The case concerned a French army captain of Jewish origin, Alfred Dreyfus, who was falsely accused of espionage and imprisoned.
An article in the Quebec daily newspaper Le Devoir, published at the end of February under the headline Director Roman Polanski, persona non grata in Quebec, shows the kind of anti-democratic conceptions that have penetrated the world of cinema and
the arts. Encouraged by large sections of the ruling elite, including the Democratic Party in the United States and Justin Trudeau's Canadian federal government, the #MeToo campaign has served to undermine fundamental democratic principles, such as the
presumption of innocence and due process.
As in France, the viewing public in Quebec is largely in favour of the film being shown. The thirty or so comments under the article in Le Devoir all opposed the reactionary argument that one could not
separate the work from the author and demanded that Quebec distributors reconsider their decision. Many compared the censorship exercised by the #MeToo campaign and Quebec distributors to the censorship exercised by the Catholic Church during the era of
Quebec history from the mid-1930s to the late 1950s known as the Great Darkness, when the Catholic clergy exercised stifling control over culture, education and social mores and the ultraconservative government of Maurice Duplessis promoted reaction and
used state violence to suppress an increasingly militant working class.
Netflix has removed an episode of It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia over jokes featuring blackface. The ninth episode of the sixth season, titled Dee Reynolds: Shaping America's Youth, is no longer available on the streaming service.
The episode, which sees characters Mac and Dee both wear blackface, was taken down on June 11.
BLM protests have prompted Edinburgh Council to reconsider censoring an Alice Wonderland school mural that features a golliwog.
The council says it will review a 2013 decision to leave depiction at Wardie primary school intact The mural painted in
1936 depicts Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, which makes no mention of a golliwog . The council refused to remove the image at Wardie primary school in the north of the city in 2013 after a parent complained to the police that it was racist and
offensive. lt said the depiction was a historical artefact within a mural of significant artistic importance.
The city's education convener, Ian Perry, and the vice-convener, Alison Dickie, said the council accepted its original position that keeping
it would prompt critical discussion of racism and past attitudes should be revisited.
Rowena Arshad, the co-director of the centre for education for racial equality in Scotland at Edinburgh University, claimed the Wardie mural was an anachronism and
should be removed.
If we want to talk about the golliwog in history, it belongs in the Museum of Childhood [in central Edinburgh], anti-racist teaching packs and television programmes, not a primary school, she said.
The city is considering censoring sites that honour people linked to slavery, particularly Henry Dundas, Lord Melville, who delayed the abolition of the UK's slave trade. A plaque setting out his role is to be placed under his
monument in central Edinburgh.
Google is threatening to censor the right leaning website, The Federalist from its ad platform for publishing user comments about the ongoing protests related to Black Lives Matter.
As NBC News reports, Google claimed that both The Federalist and
right-wing website ZeroHedge violated its policy against monetizing content that promotes hatred, intolerance, violence or discrimination based on race. A Google spokesperson said:
When a page or site violates
our policies, we take action. In this case, we've removed both sites' ability to monetize with Google.
Later Google ammended the statement saying:
To be clear, The Federalist is not currently
demonetized. We do have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on, which includes comments on the site. This is a longstanding policy.
Google also said that the issues with both sites arose from content in their
comments sections violating its policies against dangerous and derogatory content.
It sounds like The Federalist was issued a warning that it will face demonetization if it doesn't remove the content while ZeroHedge was warned previously, did not
fix the policy violations and was demonetized.
A feminist extremist has had a go at Amazon Prime for its catalogue of British sex comedy films, whingeing that they trivialise sexual harassment by presenting it as a hilarious joke.
The online platform features a number of 1970s softcore porn
slapstick flicks, complete with suitably saucy descriptions, available to buy or rent.
Kate Smurthwaite spouted to FEMAIL:
I'm not offended by nudity or sexual scenes or references ...[BUT]... The
issue is that these films routinely present sexual harassment as a "hilarious" joke. The same is true of some modern shows such as Keith Lemon's output. Recommending them on mainstream platforms reinforces the message that this behaviour is
normal and even funny. For many women the experience of being harassed and then told to "take it as a joke" is all too familiar. Media streaming services should take the time to think about what they are putting on their platforms and
recommending to their customers.
According to the Amazon description, the Confessions... series follows the 'saucy antics of the hapless Timothy Lea.
The Daily Mail then kindly details many of the most well known of the sex
comedies and reminds us of how many well known mainstream stars featured in the films.
Offsite Comment: The Manufactured Outrage Over Seventies Sex Comedies on Amazon
Ofcom has decided not to impose any further sanction on ESTV Ltd after an interview with David Icke on its local television channel London Live included potentially harmful content about the coronavirus pandemic. It has already been required to
broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings
Our investigation found David Icke expressed views which had the potential to cause significant harm to viewers in London during the pandemic. We were particularly concerned by his comments
casting doubt on the motives behind official health advice to protect the public from the virus.
These claims went largely unchallenged during the 80-minute interview and were made without the support of any scientific or other
evidence. While we acknowledge that David Icke has a right to hold and express these views, they risked causing significant harm to viewers who may have been particularly vulnerable at the time of broadcast.
Ofcom stresses that
there is no prohibition on broadcasting views which diverge from or challenge official authorities on public health information. However, in broadcasting David Icke's unsubstantiated views without sufficient challenge or context, ESTV failed in its
responsibility to ensure that viewers were adequately protected. As a result, we directed London Live to broadcast a summary of our findings on 22 April 2020 at 22:00.
Ofcom subsequently considered whether imposing any further
sanction in addition to the direction would be appropriate in this case. Ofcom concluded that the direction it had already imposed on ESTV to broadcast a statement of its findings was sufficient in remedying potentially significant harm to viewers and
that any further sanction would not be appropriate in this case. Ofcom's decision not to impose any further sanction on ESTV was published on 8 June 2020.
The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen have been removed from Netflix because of sensitivities over their use of blackface, with critics calling the move an arbitrary divisive gesture that does little to combat racism.
Mighty Boosh's Spirit of Jazz and The League of Gentlemen's Papa Lazarou characters were both played by white actors wearing blackface, and the Guardian understands they were seen as problematic by Netflix.
The comedian Jack Carroll tweeted:
It's an arbitrary gesture that means they don't have to put any real work into combatting actual instances of racial discrimination and comedy history is getting smashed in the process. Glad I kept hold of my DVD's.
Deadline has reported that Netflix has also removed four shows from its services in Australia and New Zealand, which starred Australian comedian Chris Lilley, who regularly performed in brownface .
Gone with the Wind is a 1939 USA war historical romance by Victor Fleming and George Cukor (uncredited) Starring Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Thomas Mitchell.
Scarlett is a woman who can deal with a nation at war, Atlanta burning, the Union Army carrying off everything from her beloved Tara, the carpetbaggers who arrive after the war. Scarlett is beautiful. She has
vitality. But Ashley, the man she has wanted for so long, is going to marry his placid cousin, Melanie. Mammy warns Scarlett to behave herself at the party at Twelve Oaks. There is a new man there that day, the day the Civil War begins. Rhett Butler.
Scarlett does not know he is in the room when she pleads with Ashley to choose her instead of Melanie.
The US film channel HBO Max has banned Gone with the Wind citing unacceptable historical attitudes to racial sensitivities. HBO Max
said the 1939 film was a product of its time and depicted ethnic and racial prejudices that were wrong then and are wrong today. In a statement, HBO Max said it would be irresponsible to keep the film on its platform without an explanation and a
denouncement of its racist depictions. It said the film itself would return as it was originally created, saying to do otherwise would be the same as claiming these prejudices never existed.
Reddit Ireland has taken the decision to shut down in the early hours of the morning, to limit content posted from the US during daytime hours there.
Moderators said having to check every comment on the group had pushed them to breaking point. The
page is now seeking to expand its team of moderators and add filters that can spot posts that require censorship.
In a post on the page, which has 280,000 members, it said:
We're taking the very difficult
decision today to shut down Reddit Ireland temporarily between midnight and 08:00 each day in order to stem the flow of racist/extremist content which is being posted at these times.
Reddit said it would install software to racist
comments including common phrases used against traveller communities and any other minority groups.
Netflix , BBC iPlayer and BritBox have removed comedy series Little Britain from their platforms amid PC concerns about its use of blackface.
Netflix pulled the BBC series on Friday. Netflix has also dropped the comedians' airport
mockumentary Come Fly With Me . BBC iPlayer and BritBox have also ditched Little Britain from their platforms this week.
A BBC spokesman told Variety:
There's a lot of historical programming available on
BBC iPlayer which we regularly review. Times have changed since 'Little Britain' first aired, so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.
BritBox also confirmed that Little Britain was no longer on the service, adding that Come
Fly With Me had not been available for six months.
Little Britain first aired in 2003, while Come Fly With Me debuted in 2010. Both series saw the comedians play characters from different ethnic backgrounds with the use of make-up. In Come Fly
With Me, Lucas and Walliams wore make up for characters including airport worker Taaj, passenger liaison officer Moses Beacon, and airline boss Omar Baba while Walliams also starred as health-spa guest Desiree Devere in Little Britain.
Twitch has introduced a new PC censor in the following blog post:
Keeping our community safe and healthy is a top priority for Twitch. Today, we're excited to announce the formation of the Twitch Safety Advisory Council, which
will support the growth of our community moving forward.
The Safety Advisory Council will inform and guide decisions made at Twitch by contributing their experience, expertise, and belief in Twitch's mission of
empowering communities to create together. The Council will advise on a number of topics including:
Drafting new policies and policy updates
Developing products and features to improve safety and moderation
Promoting healthy streaming and work-life
Protecting the interests of marginalized groups
Identifying emerging trends that could impact the Twitch experience
This group is composed of online safety experts and Twitch creators who have a deep understanding of Twitch, its content, and its community. When developing this council we felt it was essential to include both experts who can
provide an external perspective, as well as Twitch streamers who deeply understand creators' unique challenges and viewpoints. Each member of the council was carefully selected based on their familiarity with the Twitch community and their relevant
personal and professional experiences.
We are excited to work with this talented group to make Twitch the best place to grow and foster a community. The creation of the Safety Advisory Council is just one way we are
enhancing our approach to issues of trust and safety. We will continue to invest in tools, products, and policies that promote the safety and well-being of everyone on Twitch.
50,000 people have signed a petition calling for the sacking of Piers Morgan from his job presenting ITV's Good Morning Britain.
This comes after thousands of complaints were filed to Ofcom over numerous combative interviews he has had with
politicians amid the coronavirus crisis.
The petition ludicrously claims that Morgan is one of the country's most heinous public figures. In particular, the petition organiser takes issue with his reporting on transgender issues. The petitioners say:
Wake up to the reality of Morgan's behaviour. Hate crimes are on the rise, transphobia and discrimination over gender identity is becoming commonplace both upon social media and in the real world, and ITV continue to sit
idly and let it play out in the name of entertainment.
Scotland's government has joined the ranks of many others around the world who are actively working on constraining free speech by amending existing laws to make them even more oppressive than before.
The current law restricting 'hate crimes' is
similar to that in England and Wales, covering threats, abuse, and insults.
But based on what's described as a hard-line report from 2018, Scotland's upgraded Hate Crime and Public Order Bill proposed by parliament now looks to change that and
introduce three new offences,
The first will enable for prosecution of doing anything, or communicating any material, which is threatening or abusive and is intended or likely to engender hatred based on age, disability, religion, sexual orientation, transgender or intersex
Secondly having material of this kind in one's possession meant to be in any way communicated to others will in itself now be a crime,
and thirdly, managers in organizations of any type not acting to prevent the new set of
criminalized behaviours will be criminalized themselves.
The proposals' critics say it is anti-liberal and must not be allowed to pass, pointing out that the bill takes the focus away from punishing acts of hostility based on their gravity regardless of who they target, and instead introduces a tiered
approach, depending on groups that are designated as considered more 'worthy' of the victimhood status.
Offsite Comment: Scotland's new hate speech law will be too censorious
Paul Ellery in the Morning Sunshine Radio 16 September 2019, 07:45
Sunshine Radio is a local radio station serving Hereford and Monmouthshire with music, speech, local news and information.
Ellery in the Morning is a daily light-entertainment programme that includes discussions of news of the day.
Ofcom received a complaint that a presenter talked in a mocking manner about singer Sam Smith coming out as non-binary.
After playing a Sam Smith track during the programme, the presenter Paul Ellery said:
I can't get over this that he [Sam Smith] says he doesn't identify with being male or female, so in future we have to call him
'they'. And I heard somebody on -- I think it was on BBC News Channel over the weekend -- saying, the easiest way to find out, Sam, if you're male or female or they, is to take your clothes off -- there we go you're definitely a boy!.
We considered Rule 2.3:
In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context...Such material may include, but is not
limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, race,
religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation, and marriage and civil partnership). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.
Sunshine FM described the
programme as a live, unscripted one man show and stated that there was no production team or backroom staff involved in its broadcast. In response to Ofcom's Preliminary View, which was to record a breach of Rule 2.3, the Licensee said that the presenter
had resigned from Sunshine Radio.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 2.3
In this case, the comments made by the presenter about Sam Smith were brief, which may have limited the potential for offence to
some extent. However, they did not form part of a serious or considered discussion about issues related to gender identity and, at no point were his comments challenged, scrutinised or otherwise contextualised. Furthermore, the tone of the presenterís
comments was mocking, dismissive and flippant towards Sam Smith's announcement that they were identifying as non-binary.
Noting that we only received one complaint from listeners about the presenter's comments, we considered that
the above factors established the potential for the comments in question to cause offence.
Given the strength of the presenter's views on gender reassignment which had the potential to cause offence to listeners, and in
particular, to members of the trans community, we considered that these comments were likely to have exceeded listeners' expectations of content on this local radio station. We therefore considered that there was insufficient context to justify the
potentially offensive references to Sam Smith's gender.
We acknowledged the Licensee's position that the comments were not intended to offend listeners, and the presenter's acknowledgement that they were misjudged. However,
regardless of the intent, in our view the comments had the potential to cause offence for the reasons set out above.
Ofcom was concerned by Sunshine FM's submission that other than the presenter, no other members of a production
team or backroom staff were involved in the broadcast of the programme. We acknowledged the steps the Licensee has taken to improve compliance prior to the presenter's resignation, including the presenter undertaking compliance training and attending
daily meetings to review content.
However, given all of the above, our Decision was that the content exceeded generally accepted standards, in breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.
Modern journalism ceased to try to report the facts. Instead it started to act almost as a teacher, standing by the reader's side, and guiding him or her towards the 'right' viewpoint. By Matthias Heitmann
A tweet has been doing the rounds over recent weeks noting widespread criticism of many of the journalists reporting about the coronavirus pandemic on the main TV channels. The tweet reads:
missing the 'mood' in this great country of ours - the United Kingdom. We do not want or need blame.
We do not want constant criticism of our government who are doing their very best in a very difficult and unprecedented global
A longer version of this message has been shared tens of thousands of times on Facebook and Twitter in recent weeks, including by high-profile public figures including Lord Alan Sugar.
Since then other high-profile
figures, including several senior journalists and the football broadcaster Gary Lineker, have alleged that propaganda bots have been spreading this same message in order to drum up support for Boris Johnson's government.
article from buzzfeed.com analyses the bot claims and finds that in fact these are real people that are retransmitting
the message that chimes with many.
But maybe the TV news folk didn't actually believe their own claims as they all suddenly stopped dogmatically banging on about a lack of PPE.
Oxford University has has rejected the Academic Hate Speech motion that was passed by Oxford SU student council.
The Academic Hate Speech Motion passed 28 votes to 11, with 10
abstentions. The motion proposes to create an SU Policy, titled Protection of Transgender, Non-binary, Disabled, Working-class, and Women Students from Hatred in University Contexts . The motion mandates the SU to condemn hateful material
from being included in mandatory teaching, and to lobby for trigger warnings on readings lists and for lectures, tutorials, and examinations with content deemed prejudicial. It attracted no written debate.
The motion says that Any legal framework
which does not criminalise speech that discriminates on transphobic, ableist, or misogynistic grounds is deficient, and should not be the starting point for university policy.
Oxford University responded with the statement:
Statement on the Importance of Free Speech
Free speech is the lifeblood of a university. It enables the pursuit of knowledge. It helps us approach truth. It allows students, teachers and researchers to become better acquainted with the variety of beliefs, theories and opinions in the world.
Recognising the vital importance of free expression for the life of the mind, a university may make rules concerning the conduct of debate but should never prevent speech that is lawful.
Inevitably, this will mean that members of
the University are confronted with views that some find unsettling, extreme or offensive. The University must therefore foster freedom of expression within a framework of robust civility. Not all theories deserve equal respect. A university values
expertise and intellectual achievement as well as openness.
But, within the bounds set by law, all voices or views which any member of our community considers relevant should be given the chance of a hearing. Wherever possible,
they should also be exposed to evidence, questioning and argument. As an integral part of this commitment to freedom of expression, we will take steps to ensure that all such exchanges happen peacefully.
regulation of the time, place and manner of events, neither speakers nor listeners should have any reasonable grounds to feel intimidated or censored. It is this understanding of the central importance and specific roles of free speech in a university
that will underlie the detailed procedures of the University of Oxford.
This Instagram advertisement features a black and white image of a woman from behind. She is standing with her hands on her hips and is wearing a garter belt. Her buttocks are exposed. The caption with the image states, The ultimate bondage babe, KUKURO,
selling fast online
A sample of comments which the complainant/s made regarding this advertisement included the following:
This is a sexualised, sexually objectifying image of a woman to sell a
product. The woman's face is not shown, just a sexualised representation of her body. Her body and sexual appeal are therefore treated as representing her whole self and defining her worth. I object to this image because images that sexualise and
objectify women, and determine a woman's value based on her sexual appeal and physical attractiveness.
The Panel noted the complainant's concern that the advertisement sexualises and objectifies the woman pictured.
The Panel viewed the advertisement and noted the advertiser did not respond.
The Panel considered whether the advertisement was in breach of Section 2.2 of the Code. Section 2.2 of the Code states:
Advertising or marketing communications should not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative or degrading of any individual or group of people.
The Panel noted the complainant's
concern that the advertisement sexually objectifies women by depicting a woman without showing her face, and that therefore her body and sexual appeal are treated as defining her worth.
The Panel first considered whether the
advertisement used sexual appeal. The Panel considered the woman is depicted from behind wearing only a g-string and suspenders. The Panel considered that the advertisement did depict sexual appeal.
The Panel then considered
whether the advertisement used sexual appeal in a manner that was exploitative of an individual or group of people. The Panel considered that it was clear from the advertisement that the product for sale was the lingerie, not the woman, and that the
woman was not depicted as an object or commodity. The Panel noted that the woman's entire body is depicted and that the Wonder Woman pose is a position of power. The Panel considered that the advertisement is promoting the brand Honey Birdette as well as
the lingerie, and that the depiction of the woman and the focus on her body is relevant to a brand which makes products for the female body and promotes the empowerment of women.
The Panel considered that the depiction of the
woman without her face shown was not an attempt to suggest that she is an object or available for purchase, but rather was a creative choice relating to the theme and style of the photograph. The Panel considered that some members of the community may
consider the depiction of a woman without her face shown, focusing instead on the lingerie being promoted, to be suggesting her worth is related to her body only. However the Panel considered that most members of the community would not have this
interpretation of the advertisement, rather that is is portraying a lingerie product in a sexualised manner. Overall the Panel considered that the advertisement did not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is exploitative of the woman.
The Panel then considered whether the advertisement used sexual appeal in a manner that was degrading of an individual or group of people. The Panel considered that the woman is depicted in a powerful pose, and is standing with her
shoulders back and head held high. The Panel noted that the image was sexualised with the depiction of the woman also showing her buttocks and between her legs from behind. However the Panel considered that the depiction of a woman wearing sexualised
lingerie in this promotion for that style of lingerie was not a depiction which lowered the woman in character or quality. Overall the Panel considered that the advertisement did not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is degrading of the woman.
The Panel determined that the advertisement did not employ sexual appeal in a manner which is
29 people have complained to Ofcom about a virus joke on Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway.
Part five of the Men In Brown sketch saw Paul Hollywood, whose body had been taken over by an alien, reveal that he had the Universal
Collider and could now infect the whole world.
A few viewers were not impressed, claiming it to be insensitive during a time when the entire world is battling the coronavirus pandemic.
Television censor Ofcom confirmed that they received a
total of 29 complaints, including 22 relating to the Men In Brown sketch. Zn Ofcom spokesperson told Metro.co.uk:
We are assessing the complaints against our broadcasting rules, but are yet to decide whether or not to
This is Ofcom speak for the complaints already being in the waste paper bin but the complaints acknowledge that there is a section of society that believe that we should not be able to make light about an incredibly