Re: [Pearg] descriptive censorship work: draft-hall-censorship-tech

Mallory Knodel <> Mon, 20 May 2019 10:26 UTC

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From: Mallory Knodel <>
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Date: Mon, 20 May 2019 13:25:39 +0300
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Subject: Re: [Pearg] descriptive censorship work: draft-hall-censorship-tech
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On 20/05/2019 12:10, Vittorio Bertola wrote:
>> Il 19 maggio 2019 03:37 Amelia Andersdotter <>
>> ha scritto:
>> To be fair, Facebook faces fines in the order of tens of millions
>> of euros if they fail to block something they should have blocked. 
>> Over-blocking has indeed been a persistent concern among those
>> groups who have argued that blocking is not a good solution to any
>> particular content moderation problem.
> It's true that, in the end, most independent blocking decisions by
> private companies derive from the fear of legal trouble, which by
> definition derives from a law and thus from a political/governmental
> decision. So I see why you could argue that most private censorship
> still indirectly derives from governmental pressure (the other big
> case I see is that of pro-intellectual-property upload filters, which
> until a couple of months ago were not legally mandated, but were
> privately adopted to avoid potential litigation with copyright
> owners; but one could say that this was still a consequence of a
> legal framework biased in favour of protecting commercial IP
> rights).

I think that for the purposes of this draft it's useful to keep only the
text that is related to policy decisions enacted technically. Because:

> There are however a few cases in which it's quite hard to establish
> this connection; think for example of the Google Shopping case[1],
> which IMHO is indeed a form of private censorship. This does not
> derive from indirect legal pressure - on the contrary, it was ruled
> as illegal - but only comes as a consequence of private business
> interests.

I can imagine a lot of cases in which platforms remove content that is
benign but irrelevant. If I run a social media network that is about
parenting, I'm probably going to have a code of conduct or terms of
service that gives me the right to remove content that is extraneous to
this topic. Spam, too.

I think that we sometimes forget that some platforms are contextually
specific. But that usually these are defined by community standards.


Mallory Knodel
Head of Digital ::
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