Though your own words and pictures make up the content you post on Facebook, they are anything but private. Indeed, Facebook can block or censor your content just as easily as you can post it in the first place. When a giant company does that to an individual user, there’s typically no recourse for the little guy. But that might be changing with the creation of a new site called OnlineCensorship.org.
The site is the result of a partnership between the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and a company called Visualizing Impact. It seeks to track and analyze these content takedowns, and also provide users with clear instructions for appealing the censorship.
Content is often removed from Facebook after it has been flagged by users for being offensive—even when it isn’t. This kind of false reporting is one of the primary ways that people can censor ideas or individuals they don’t like on the social media giant. The EFF director for international freedom of expression Jillian York said that it will be tricky to separate actual cases of hate crimes being censored versus false reports, but that the site only wants to hold companies like Facebook accountable.
“We’re not taking a position on the content necessarily, we’re just observing and trying to force companies to be more transparent about what they do and why,” she said. “They don’t want to be transparent, which is why we thought we need to go to the users.”