Tag: Censorship

Margaret Atwood’s Dystopia, and Ours

After Donald Trump’s election, sales of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Margaret Atwood’s canonical 1985 novel of theocratic totalitarianism, spiked, along with other dystopian classics like George Orwell’s “1984.” Atwood’s book takes place in a world where a clique of Christian fundamentalists have overthrown the United States government and instituted the rigidly patriarchal Republic of Gilead. Environmental […]

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Host Violent Content? In Australia, You Could Go to Jail

SYDNEY, Australia — The video showing the murder of 51 people in Christchurch carries both an offensive title, “New Zealand Video Game,” and a message to “download and save.” Appearing on 153news.net, an obscure site awash in conspiracy theories, it is exactly the sort of online content that Australia’s new law criminalizing “abhorrent violent material” […]

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Well, You Might Lose Your Instagram Account If You Post a Selfie With a Sex Toy

This article contains spoilers for the Are You the One? season eight finale. Instagram’s restrictive content policies regarding nudity and sexuality have affected sex workers, queers, artists, and even journalists, censoring sexy pics and jokey dildo selfies alike in the name of building a profitable, child-friendly platform. Now, it looks like our fave reality stars […]

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Two Men Kiss in a Comic Book, and a Mayor Orders a Raid

RIO DE JANEIRO — The team of law-enforcement agents deployed by the mayor to “defend the family” descended on the international event and scoured the grounds for their target: copies of a comic book featuring two young men kissing. “Books like this need to be packaged in black plastic and sealed,” the mayor of Rio […]

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Governments Shut Down the Internet to Stifle Critics. Citizens Pay the Price.

HARARE, Zimbabwe — When Zimbabwe turned off the internet during a recent crackdown, Obert Masaraure, a prominent government critic, had no way of knowing when it was safe to emerge from hiding. He waited one day, then another. On the third day he broke cover, hoping that a wave of arrests had come to an […]

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Making a Movie and Surviving China’s Censors

Lou Ye, the Chinese director, has had his share of run-ins with his country’s film censors over his successful and esteemed career. There was the two-year ban on making films after showing “Suzhou River” at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the five-year ban after making “Summer Palace” and, most recently, a protracted approval process for […]

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Big Tech, a Conservative Provocateur and the Fight Over Disinformation

Each day, in an office outside Phoenix, a team of young writers and editors curates reality. In the America presented on their news and opinion website, WesternJournal.com, tradition-minded patriots face ceaseless assault by anti-Christian bigots, diseased migrants and race hustlers concocting hate crimes. Danger and outrages loom. A Mexican politician threatens the “takeover” of several […]

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China’s Soft-Power Failure: Condemning Hong Kong’s Protests

Images of masked thugs massing in Hong Kong’s streets. Unproven allegations that protesters are being led by the C.I.A. Comparisons between activists and Nazis. As protests continue to roil Hong Kong’s streets, China’s state-led propaganda machine has gone into overdrive to persuade the world that radical Hong Kong protesters have put the city in peril. […]

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China Is Waging a Disinformation War Against Hong Kong Protesters

BEIJING — When a projectile struck a Hong Kong woman in the eye this week as protesters clashed with the police, China responded quickly: Its state television network reported that the woman had been injured not by one of the police’s bean bag rounds, but by a protester. The network’s website went further: It posted […]

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The Phony Patriots of Silicon Valley

Not long ago, many leading technologists considered themselves too lofty and idealistic to concern themselves with the petty affairs of government. John Perry Barlow, a lion of the early internet, addressed his “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace” to the “governments of the industrial world,” saying that for him and his fellow netizens, these creaky […]

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Legal Shield for Websites Rattles Under Onslaught of Hate Speech

When the most consequential law governing speech on the internet was created in 1996, Google.com didn’t exist and Mark Zuckerberg was 11 years old. The federal law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, has helped Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and countless other internet companies flourish. But Section 230’s liability protection also extends to fringe sites […]

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Instagram Apologizes for Blocking Caribbean Carnival Content

Revellers take part in the Caribbean Carnival Grand Parade in Toronto on Saturday, Aug.4, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov This article originally appeared on VICE Canada. Instagram is apologizing after it made a “mistake” by hiding posts under hashtags related to carnivals in the Caribbean for allegedly falling afoul of the platform’s community guidelines. Shortly […]

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You Can Read This Book in Russian, Except for the Parts About Russia

MOSCOW — Andrei Chernikov, an information-technology specialist from western Ukraine, was near the end of Yuval Noah Harari’s book “21 Lessons for the 21st Century” when he stumbled onto something that concerned him directly — a description in the “Post-Truth” chapter of how Russia’s government in 2014 attempted to hide its invasion of Ukraine and […]

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‘We’re Almost Extinct’: China’s Investigative Journalists Are Silenced Under Xi

BEIJING — She was once one of China’s most feared journalists, roaming the country uncovering stories about police brutality, wrongful convictions and environmental disasters. But these days, Zhang Wenmin struggles to be heard. The police intimidate Ms. Zhang’s sources. The authorities shut down her social media accounts. Unable to find news outlets that will publish […]

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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is Sued for Blocking Critics on Twitter

[What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.] President Trump and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are diametrical opposites in nearly every way, except perhaps for their shared home state of New York and their social media dominance. But now there may be another thing that binds the two: […]

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A Billionaire’s Fall Spotlights Child Sexual Abuse in China

SHANGHAI — The detention of a billionaire Shanghai real estate developer in a case linked by Communist Party officials to the alleged sexual molestation of a 9-year-old girl has triggered a national bout of soul searching in China, where such crimes are rapidly moving toward the top of law enforcement priorities. Wang Zhenhua, a prominent […]

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A Year Later, Twitter’s New Banned Speech Policy Adds Little to the Old One

SAN FRANCISCO — Last August, Twitter’s top executives gathered at the company’s headquarters to discuss how to make the site safer for its users. Two attendees proposed banning all speech that could be considered “dehumanizing.” For an example of what they meant, they showed a sample post that featured the words President Trump used to […]

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