Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: Censorship

Cambodia’s Internet May Soon Be Like China’s: State-Controlled

Business
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — The day Kea Sokun was arrested in Cambodia, four men in plainclothes showed up at his photography shop near Angkor Wat and carted him off to the police station. Mr. Kea Sokun, who is also a popular rapper, had released two songs on YouTube, and the men said they needed to know why he’d written them.“They kept asking me: ‘Who is behind you? What party do you vote for?’” Mr. Kea Sokun said. “I told them, ‘I have never even voted, and no one controls me.’”The 23-year-old artist, who says his songs are about everyday struggles in Cambodia, was sentenced to 18 months in an overcrowded prison after a judge found him guilty of inciting social unrest with his lyrics. His case is part of a crackdown in which dozens have been sent to jail for posting jokes, poems, pictures, pr...
Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban

Nigeria Lifts Twitter Ban

Technology
DAKAR, Senegal — The Nigerian government restored access in the country to Twitter on Thursday after a seven-month suspension that was imposed after the social media site deleted a post by Nigeria’s president that threatened a violent crackdown on secessionist groups.The government blocked access to the site in June, but reversed course on Wednesday after Twitter agreed to several demands. Twitter will establish an office in the country, pay taxes there, appoint a representative and “act with a respectful acknowledgment of Nigerian laws and the national culture and history,” a government official said.Since the ban came into effect, Nigerians have been able to access the service only using a virtual private network. Twitter’s removal of a post by President Muhammadu Buhari was widely seen ...
Twitter Permanently Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Account

Twitter Permanently Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Account

Technology
Twitter on Sunday permanently suspended the personal account of Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Republican of Georgia, after the company said she had violated its Covid-19 misinformation policies.Twitter suspended Ms. Greene’s account after she tweeted on Saturday, falsely, about “extremely high amounts of Covid vaccine deaths.” She included a misleading chart that pulled data from a government database of unverified raw data.Twitter said that Ms. Greene had a fifth “strike,” which meant that her account will not be restored. The company had issued her a fourth strike in August after she falsely posted that the vaccines were “failing.” Ms. Greene was given a third strike less than a month before that when she had tweeted that Covid-19 was not dangerous for people unless they were ...

The Question the I.O.C. Is Too Weak To Ask. Where Is Peng Shuai?

Sports
Where is Peng Shuai?That’s the question the International Olympic Committee and its president, Thomas Bach, should be shouting right now — loud, demanding, and aimed squarely at the leadership in China, set to host the Beijing Games in February. But instead of firm demands, we’re hearing not much more than faint, servile whispers from Olympic leadership.Peng, 35, a Chinese tennis star and three-time Olympian, has been missing since Nov. 2, when she used social media to accuse Zhang Gaoli, 75, a former vice premier of China, of sexually assaulting her at his home three years ago. She also described having had an on-and-off consensual relationship with Zhang.Peng wrote that the assault occurred after Zhang invited her to play tennis at his home. “I was so scared that afternoon,” she noted. “...

Brazil’s Far-Right Disinformation Pushers Find a Safe Space on Telegram

Technology
RIO DE JANEIRO — Shortly after President Donald J. Trump was banned from Twitter early this year, Brazil’s like-minded leader made a plea to his millions of followers on the site.“Sign up for my official channel on Telegram,” President Jair Bolsonaro requested.Since then, Telegram, an encrypted messaging and social media platform run by an elusive Russian exile, has racked up tens of millions of new users in Brazil.Its growing popularity in Brazil and elsewhere is being fueled by conservative politicians and commentators for whom it has become the most permissive disseminator of problematic content — including disinformation — in a social media ecosystem facing mounting pressure to combat fake news and polarization.While WhatsApp remains by far the dominant messaging platform in Brazil, Te...

How a Mistake by YouTube Shows Its Power Over Media

Technology
LONDON — The email subject line that arrived at 10:19 a.m. on Tuesday carried some of the worst information a small online news outlet can receive: “Novara Media we have removed your channel from YouTube.”Novara had spent years using YouTube to attract more than 170,000 subscribers for its left-leaning coverage of issues like climate change, capitalism and social policy. Suddenly, and without warning, that powerful distribution tool was zapped — leaving people in the newsroom wondering how the organization could survive.“We had this ambient awareness of our dependence on these big tech platforms,” Ash Sarkar, a contributing editor, said in an interview at Novara’s one-room office inside a converted biscuit factory. “But there’s nothing like having your livelihood snatched away from you to ...
Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web.

Anonymity No More? Age Checks Come to the Web.

Technology
Richard Errington clicked to stream a science-fiction film from his home in Britain last month when YouTube carded him.The site said Mr. Errington, who is over 50, needed to prove he was old enough to watch “Space Is the Place,” a 1974 movie starring the jazz musician Sun Ra. He had three options: Enter his credit card information, upload a photo identification like a passport or skip the video.“I decided that it wasn’t worth the stress,” he said.In response to mounting pressure from activists, parents and regulators who believe tech companies haven’t done enough to protect children online, businesses and governments around the globe are placing major parts of the internet behind stricter digital age checks.People in Japan must provide a document proving their age to use the dating app Tin...

Russia Strengthens Its Internet Censorship Powers

Technology
Russia’s boldest moves to censor the internet began in the most mundane of ways — with a series of bureaucratic emails and forms.The messages, sent by Russia’s powerful internet regulator, demanded technical details — like traffic numbers, equipment specifications and connection speeds — from companies that provide internet and telecommunications services across the country. Then the black boxes arrived.The telecom companies had no choice but to step aside as government-approved technicians installed the equipment alongside their own computer systems and servers. Sometimes caged behind lock and key, the new gear linked back to a command center in Moscow, giving authorities startling new powers to block, filter and slow down websites that they did not want the Russian public to see.The proc...
OnlyFans May Be a Refuge for Nude Fine Art

OnlyFans May Be a Refuge for Nude Fine Art

Technology
OnlyFans has a surprising new member: the Vienna Tourist Board.No, its account will not feature after-hours photos of employees. Instead, the board will use the adults-only site to show images of paintings and sculptures displayed in the Austrian capital that have been blocked by social media sites for nudity or sexual content.The offending artworks include the Venus of Willendorf, a 25,000-year-old limestone figurine of a woman. Facebook removed a photo of it from the Vienna Museum of Natural History’s page several years ago for being “pornographic.”There’s also “Liebespaar,” Koloman Moser’s early 20th-century painting, which the Leopold Museum included in a video post celebrating its anniversary in September. The video, which was blocked by the algorithms of Instagram and Facebook, “is a...
Facebook Comments Can Get Media Firms Sued in Australia

Facebook Comments Can Get Media Firms Sued in Australia

Technology
Dylan Voller was already a polarizing figure in Australia when the disturbing, violent and demonstrably false accusations against him began to appear on Facebook.Mr. Voller had become famous overnight in 2016 after a television news exposé on the mistreatment of juveniles in the country’s criminal detention system broadcast a photograph of him, at age 17, hooded and strapped to a chair by guards. The image, likened by some to those of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, shocked many Australians, prompting a national investigation.Beneath articles about the investigation written by major Australian news outlets and posted to their Facebook pages, several commenters attacked Mr. Voller. Some made false accusations, including that Mr. Voller had raped an elderly woman and attacked a Salvati...