UPDATE: Added Google Search and Government Removal Request below the fold
(ThinkProgress) – Thinking about e-mailing your friends and neighbors about the protests against Wall Street happening right now? If you have a Yahoo e-mail account, think again. ThinkProgress has reviewed claims that Yahoo is censoring e-mails relating to the protest and found that after several attempts on multiple accounts, we too were prevented from sending messages about the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.
The protesters, organized online and by organizations like Adbusters, have called their effort “Occupy Wall Street” and have set up the website: www.OccupyWallSt.org . However, several YouTube users posted videos of themselves trying to email a message inviting their friends to visit the Occupy Wall St campaign website, only to be blocked repeatedly by Yahoo. Emails relating to the OccupyWallSt.org protest were blocked with the following message (emphasis added):
Your message was not sent
Suspicious activity has been detected on your account. To protect your account and our users, your message has not been sent.
If this error continues, please contact Yahoo! Customer Care for further help.
We apologize for the inconvenience.
Yahoo’s customer care Twitter account acknowledges blocking the emails, but says it was an unintentional error:
“We apologize 4 blocking ‘occupywallst.org’ It was not intentional & caught by our spam filters. It is resolved, but may be a residual delay.”
(Single Black Male) – As a blogger, a number of people contacted me throughout the day on Tuesday, September 20th with the theory that “Troy Davis” and related topics were being censored on Twitter. I also received an email that day from Courtney Rose-Harris of the NAACP New Media Department in Washington D.C. She asked that I share the story of Troy Davis with my network. The subject line of her email included the hashtag “#TooMuchDoubt.”
A casual observation of current Twitter trends at the time saw no mention of #TooMuchDoubt or another popular and obvious hashtag, #TroyDavis. Despite the fact that the story was being covered by national news organizations across the country.
Today Twitter’s CEO said they may in the future “edit out any…clearly offensive [trending topics].” He also said “we edit out any [trending topics] with obscenities.” Thanks to @rachelsklar for finding this tweet and @AbigailCollazo for pointing it out.
(The Intel Hub) May 24, 2011 – When viewers in the UK attempt to watch videos of the protest, they are met with the message, “This content is not available in your country due to a government removal request. ”
We then click through to learn that, “YouTube occasionally receives requests from governments around the world to remove content from our site, and as a result, YouTube may block specific content in order to comply with local laws in certain countries.”
You can also search by country to discover that Google, the owner of You Tube, has complied with the majority of requests from governments, particularly in the United States and the UK, not only to remove You Tube videos, but also specific web search terms and thousands of “data requests,” meaning demands for information that would reveal the true identity of a You Tube user. Google claims that the information sent to governments is “needed for legitimate criminal investigations,” but whether these “data requests” have been backed up by warrants is not divulged by the company.
“Between July 1 and Dec. 31 (2009), Google received 3,580 requests for user data from U.S. government agencies, slightly less than the 3,663 originating from Brazil,” reports PC World. “The United Kingdom and India sent more than 1,000 requests each, and smaller numbers originated from various other countries. The numbers are imperfect, because a single request could consist of multiple users’ data or removal of multiple URLs.”
With regard to search terms, one struggles to understand how a specific combination of words in a Google search can be considered a violation of any law. This is about government and Google working hand in hand to manipulate search results in order to censor inconvenient information, something which Google now freely admits to doing.
You Tube’s behavior is more despicable than the Communist Chinese, who are at least open about their censorship policies, whereas You Tube hides behind a blanket excuse and doesn’t even say what law has been broken.