Facebook Disables Anti-BJP Group With 33,000 Members

Facebook on the night of August 18 disabled the ‘No Vote to BJP’ group which had more than 33,000 members and which had campaigned against Bharatiya Janata Party ahead of the West Bengal assembly polls earlier this year.

The group is run by members of the platform, ‘Bengal against Fascist BJP-RSS’. Many political observers believe that the group played an important role when it came to creating public opinion against the party ahead of the keenly contested election.

The BJP lost, and the ruling Trinamool Congress returned to power. The citizens’ initiative, however, is not aligned with the TMC either or any other political party. Their efforts largely comprised an online and street campaign in which members asked people to vote for any party other than the BJP.

— source thewire.in | 20/Aug/2021

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Over 55,000 Websites Blocked Since January 2015, Most to ‘Protect Indian State’

One of the reasons most often cited for the blocking of websites is the ‘protection of the Indian state,’ a recently released report notes. The report found that between January 2015 and June 2022, roughly 55,580 websites, YouTube channels, URLs, applications, etc. have been blocked.

‘Finding 404: A Report on Website Blocking in India‘ was released by the legal services organisation SFLC.in, which aims to protect freedom in the digital world.

Internet blocking occurs when the content of a website or application falls under the exceptions in Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India and Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000. It is also done if the content violates the Copyright Act, 1957.

— source thewire.in | 17/Jan/2023

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Facebook disables accounts tied to NYU’s research into political ads

Facebook said Tuesday that it disabled accounts tied to a project from New York University that analyzed political ads on the social network. The company said researchers collected data from Facebook users without their consent. [joke of this century]

Researchers launched the project, known as the NYU Ad Observatory, ahead of the 2020 US presidential election to make it easier for journalists, policy makers and the public to spot trends about Facebook political ad targeting. As part of the project, NYU created a plug-in Facebook users could add to their web browser that copied the ads they saw on the social network and stored that data in a public database. The browser extension also collected usernames, links to user profiles and information about why users see a particular ad, information that isn’t publicly available.

But Facebook said researchers violated the social network’s rules by scraping data from users through “unauthorized means.” The company said the browser extension collected

— source cnet.com | Queenie Wong | Aug. 3, 2021

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Facebook Just Suspended the Accounts of Some of Its Biggest Critics

Facebook has made good on its threat to kick out a group of researchers who’ve been among the platform’s biggest critics.

The Cybersecurity for Democracy project at New York University has revealed major flaws in Facebook political ad transparency tools and highlighted how Facebook’s algorithms were amplifying misinformation. Most recently, it helped track vaccine disinformation in coordination with the Virality Project, a group that tries to neutralize false narratives spreading on social media.

Despite the obvious benefits of the work being done by these researchers, on Tuesday evening, the company cut the cord.

“This evening, Facebook suspended my Facebook account and the accounts of several people associated with Cybersecurity for Democracy, our team at NYU,” Laura Edelson, one of the

— source vice.com | David Gilbert | 04 Aug 2021

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Facebook shuts down major left wing group in Britain

Facebook has shut down the accounts of one of the biggest left wing organisations in Britain, the Socialist Workers Party (SWP). The Socialist Workers Party Facebook page – as well as account of local pages – have been removed from Facebook with no explanation given. Those targeted say it amounts to a silencing of political activists.

The SWP Facebook page regularly posts in support of Palestine, Black Lives Matter and against Boris Johnson’s Covid policies. It also hosts dozens of online events every week that activists across the country take part in.

— source socialistworker.co.uk | 22 Jan 2021

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Meet the Censored: Katie Halper

The longtime co-host of Useful Idiots, Katie Halper, made headlines last week, and not for any reasons she would have asked for. Katie was fired from a part-time hosting arrangement at The Hill’s Rising, whose editor told her an editorial critical of Israeli policies in Palestine was “not in our sweet spot of coverage.”

Rising grew a significant audience as an independent media vehicle between 2019 and 2021, when it was hosted by the left-right team of Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti. It has since undergone changes, piloted for a time by Intercept reporter Ryan Grim and Emily Jashinsky of The Federalist, and ultimately moving to a new incarnation featuring Briahna Joy Gray and Robby Soave. Part of the hosting job involves monologues called “radars.” Katie, who had a fill-in arrangement at the outlet for years, was let go over just such a radar. You can see it above.

The controversy began when Michigan Democrat Rashida Tliab spoke at an online seminar on September 20th and said, “It has become clear that you cannot claim to hold progressive values, yet back Israel’s apartheid government.” Tliab gave her talk in the wake of the shooting of Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, who was killed in the West

— source scheerpost.com | Matt Taibbi | Oct 6, 2022

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Teachers’ Forum Condemns NCERT’s Decision to Remove Chapters on Climate Change

After widespread outrage, a teacher’s forum has also stepped in to criticise NCERT for removing crucial chapters concerning climate and weather change from students’ syllabus and has urged a rethink on the issue and reintroduction of the chapters. In a statement released recently, Teachers Against Climate Crisis (TACC) highlighted said chapters on the greenhouse effect, weather, climate and popular environment movements from syllabi for classes 6th to 12th were crucial and should not have been removed.

The deleted chapters include an entire chapter on the greenhouse effect from the Class 11 geography syllabus, a chapter on weather, climate, and water from the Class 7 syllabus, and information about the monsoon from the Class 9 syllabus. The forum also voiced concern that information about popular people’s movements like the Chipko movement and the Narmada Bachao Andolan had been removed from the “Democratic Politics” syllabus as part of the “Popular Struggles and Movements” course.

— source newsclick.in | 12 Jul 2022

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