While some argue that Facebook and other large tech companies are suppressing or censoring conservative viewpoints, the companies argue they are only taking down “false information.” But how does satire fit in?
On May 14, President Joe Biden revoked a slew of Executive Orders enacted by Former President Trump during his final nine months in office, including the “Preventing Online Censorship” executive order which targeted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
The law is clear: employers get to decide whether or not an employee’s latest Tweet is grounds for termination and the First Amendment, though meant to be a shield from government overreach, is no shield from private consequence.
Many of the bills use very similar language, referencing “unfair trade practices” and “censorship.” Several bills would require social media platforms to warn users of their specific electronic speech transgressions and give violators a grace period to clean up whatever part of their act that would see them banned. Some bills empower the banned to file consumer complaints with state attorneys general or, like Texas’ SB 2373, to file suit.
Hurston wrote “What White Publishers Won’t Print” in 1950. Seventy years later, #PublishingPaidMe exposed what we now know as the disparity of publishers’ pay advances to Black writers compared to White writers. There is a historical notion that Black books won’t appeal to a broad audience that has long been discredited through the success of many Black books. Hurston’s use of African-American Vernacular (AAV), her portrayal of black women, and Black cultural traditions were used to center Black lives in her stories. Because the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 are primarily of diverse people and topics, it is imperative to continue supporting and making opportunities equitable for Black writers.
This is the story of the Library Director who was threatened by the County Sheriff over her Library’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement in Summer 2020. This launched an investigation and a protest in Douglas County, Nevada.
Election disinformation believers, censored on Twitter but welcomed on Parler, prompt society to consider the value of the unfettered freedom to spread dangerously false information.
We should consider whether tech companies are taking personalization too far, but we should also resist the urge to embrace that customization to an extent that might inhibit personal growth and evolving perspectives. And we need to continue to make sure the next generation understands the importance of looking at multiple perspectives, especially if it is going to be harder to do so organically as we absorb information.
Among the many challenges of 2020, there is another challenge we’ve faced down in the past and will continue to face in the future: book challenges. Censorship doesn’t take a sick day – and book ban and challenge statistics reported by the Office of Intellectual Freedom prove it. But for the first time, our annual commemoration of the fight against book censorship and other content challenges went virtual-first. Inspired by the Harper’s Index, this post measures Banned Books Week 2020 by the numbers – and shows how intellectual freedom advocates made virtual-first count.
Surveillance. Censorship. Disinformation. Distrust. The information war marches on. This post offers specific suggestions for safeguarding one’s own mind in the “fog and friction” of information warfare, including privacy, “ladder reading,” open-mindedness, asking critical questions, and taking a “trust pause.”