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News

New Website on Censorship by Social Media

(November 19, 2015) - Onlinecensorship.org is an organization devoted to spreading the word about censorship by private social media companies such as Facebook, and to giving people tools to contest these companies' decisions. A project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact, it began in 2012, but only last year, after receiving the Knight News Challenge on the topic of free expression and innovation, was the group able to move the project forward.

According to the Onlinecensorship website, "one particular story'' made clear the need for this resource: the popular band Coldplay posted a link to OneWorld’s song Freedom for Palestine. It received almost 7,000 largely supportive comments, but because it was reported as “abusive” by some viewers, Facebook took down the link.

Social media companies vary widely in the clarity and fairness of the appeals procedures that they may offer to contest takedowns, and their terms of service are usually very vague. (See "The Brave New World of Social Media Censorship.")

At Onlinecensorship.org, users of social media sites can report takedowns and get solid information about how to contest them.


The Free Expression Policy Project began in 2000 to provide empirical research and policy development on tough censorship issues and seek free speech-friendly solutions to the concerns that drive censorship campaigns. In 2004-2007, it was part of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. The FEPP website is now hosted by the National Coalition Against Censorship. Past funders have included the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation, the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Educational Foundation of America, the Open Society Institute, and the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

All material on this site is covered by a Creative Commons "Attribution - No Derivs - NonCommercial" license. (See http://creativecommons.org) You may copy it in its entirely as long as you credit the Free Expression Policy Project and provide a link to the Project's Web site. You may not edit or revise it, or copy portions, without permission (except, of course, for fair use). Please let us know if you reprint!