• Facebook’s decision to temporarily block the page of Kashmiri cartoonist Mir Suhail over one of his satirical cartoons has created controversy. The ruckus over the cartoon threatens to reignite political dialogue around free speech in the restive regions of India.

  • The Christian Science Monitor asks if Twitter’s long-range plan—its recently-inaugurated Trust & Safety Council—to tackle harassment will work. The hastily-formed coalition of advocacy organizations has been assembled to create an air of legitimacy to content policies, but critics have decried the list of participant organizations, noting that not a single major digital rights organization (including Onlinecensroship.org’s co-founding organization the EFF) is part of the council.

  • In the Huffington Post, Alice O’Leary writes about Facebook taking down the page of Mary’s Medicals, a marijuana dispensary. O’Leary notes that despite a prohibition on “regulated goods,” numerous other dispensaries have a presence on the site.

  • A French appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit brought by a teacher against Facebook can move forward. The teacher filed the original lawsuit when the social media giant deleted his account. The reason? He had posted Gustav Courbet’s 1866 painting L’Origine du Monde, which features a close-up view of a woman’s genitals. The court ruled against Facebook, stating that the company must face a French—not a Californian—court.

  • TechDirt commented on Facebook’s removal of “Ice Cream,” a 1964 Evelyne Axell painting featuring a woman licking an ice cream cone: “For Facebook to take that down says nothing about its view on decency, but everything about how prudish censorship programs are too often employed to the detriment of much-needed culture.”

  • The Philadelphia Museum of Art, which posted the Axell painting, has pushed back against Facebook’s censorship, reposting the image and inciting its followers to comment on the company’s decision.

  • Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopolous—who was recently un-verified by Twitter after making hateful comments—calls Facebook’s collusion with governments to censor certain types of speech “downright Orwellian” in a new podcast.

Onlinecensorship.org seeks to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability toward their users as they make decisions that regulate speech. Learn more.


Photograph of Courbet's L'Origine du Monde by Daniele Dalledone, CC BY-SA 2.0.

Screen shot 2016 02 16 at 12.57.04 pm

Gustav Courbet's "L'Origine du Monde"