One thing I’ve learned from my three and a half years of writing publicly on the internet, is you never know which posts are going to go viral. Nothing proves this point more than last week’s post, The UN Releases Plan to Push for Worldwide Internet Censorship. Although I certainly thought it was an important story, I never expected it to become the beast it did.
The paragraph that really caught people’s eye was the following:
Under U.S. law - the law that, not coincidentally, governs most of the world’s largest online platforms - intermediaries such as Twitter and Facebook generally can’t be held responsible for what people do on them. But the United Nations proposes both that social networks proactively police every profile and post, and that government agencies only “license” those who agree to do so.
Interestingly, it appears Apple wants to get ahead of the curve and begin censoring news the U.S. government might find embarrassing right away.
As reported by Mic:
Freelance journalist and data artist Josh Begley has been methodically recording U.S. military drone activity for years. Every week or so - whenever the strikes occur - Begley will post a news story from the @dronestreamTwitter account, identifying when and where drone strikes have occurred before feeding the results into an app called Metadata+.
Longtime Liberty Blitzkrieg readers will be familiar with “Dronestream,” as I highlighted it all the way back in 2012 in the post: The Kid Who Tweets Every Drone Strike.
Now back to Mic.
But on Sunday, Dronestream tweeted that Metadata+, which sends out push notifications every time there is a U.S. drone strike, had been removed from the App Store after seven months of being openly available.
Apple still aspires to be a hub for serious news. It’s building tools like Apple News to help journalists and publishers reach new audiences. But Apple’s opaque filtering process shows that it may not be ready to decide for the public what kind of content we should or shouldn’t be exposed to.
Earlier this month, Apple censored a journalistic app that took you to the scene of the Ferguson, Missouri, shooting of Michael Brown. The tech giant has also taken down educational apps that depicted the Confederate Flag in its historical context. All while allowing for apps that include violence and graphic depictions of war, like Hitman: Sniper and Zynga’s Empires and Allies.
Then again, those apps all include in-app purchases from which Apple collects revenue. And none of them is offensive to the United States government.
Everyone should call out Apple on this pathetic, disgusting, authority-pandering behavior. It also reminds me of some of the warnings I issued in the post: The Pentagon Creates Partnership with Apple to Develop Wearable Tech.
Moving along, the Guardian is reporting that Facebook has banned an ad from the Royal National Institute of Blind People due to, get this, “negativity.”
Facebook has banned a hard-hitting ad campaign by the Royal National Institute of Blind People, arguing that users of the social networking site should only see “neutral or positive” messages.
The RNIB launched the ad on its YouTube channel and has been seeking to run a campaign featuring the video across Facebook.
Facebook, once again demonstrating its key role in ensuring the next generation of Americans grows up to be apathetic, ignorant, submissive little debt serfs.
Facebook’s advertising team has refused to clear the video ad for use in a campaign across its network, saying it breaks its guidelines on language that is “profane, vulgar, threatening or generates high negative feedback”.
Asking for clarification, the RNIB’s social media team received a further email response saying Facebook is not very keen on hard-hitting ads.
“We’ve found that people dislike ads that directly address them or their personal characteristics,” said a member of the Facebook Ads Team. “Ads should not single out individuals or degrade people. We don’t accept language like ‘fear of losing your sight, losing your job?’ and the like. Instead, text must present realistic and accurate information in a neutral or positive way and should not have any direct attribution to people.”
“We were really shocked to find out that Facebook had banned our advert but even more surprised when they couldn’t tell us exactly why, we’re still not sure what we’ve really done wrong here,” said Natasha Dickinson, group head of marketing and communications at the RNIB.
Down the memory hole you go!
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