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Mark Zuckerberg Facebook (Privacy and Censorship)


Facebook is a social networking service and website launched in February 2004, operated and privately owned by Facebook Inc.  It now has more than 900 million active users. Users must register before using the site, after which they may create a personal profile, add other users as friends, and exchange messages, including automatic notifications when they update their profile. Additionally, users may join common-interest user groups, organized by workplace, school or college, or other characteristics, and categorize their friends into lists such as 'People From Work' or 'Close Friends'. The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by some university administrations in the United States to help students get to know each other. Facebook allows any users who declare themselves to be at least 13 years old to become registered users of the site

Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg with his college roommates and fellow students The Web site's membership was initially limited by the founders to Harvard students, but was expanded to other colleges in the Boston area, It gradually added support for students at various other universities before opening to high school students, and eventually to anyone aged 13 and over. However, there are 7.5 million children under 13 with accounts and 5 million under 10, violating the site's terms of service

Facebook is the most used social networking service worldwide and how on earth did we stalk our exes, remember our co-workers' birthdays, bug our friends, and play a rousing game of 'Scrabulous' before Facebook? Facebook has 139 million monthly unique US visitors in May 2011 and an estimated 41per cent of the US population had a Facebook account. Nevertheless, Facebook's market growth started to stall in some regions, with the site losing 7 million active users in the US and Canada in May 2011 Facebook filed for an initial public offering in Feb 2012

Users can create profiles with photos, lists of personal interests, contact information, and other personal information. Users can communicate with friends and other users through private or public messages and a chat feature. They can also create and join interest groups and 'like pages' (called 'fan pages' until April 2010) some of which are maintained by organizations as a means of advertising. A 2012 Pew Internet and American Life study identified that between 20 to30 per cent of Facebook users are 'power users' who frequently link, poke, post and tag themselves and others

To allay concerns about privacy, Facebook enables users to choose their own privacy settings and choose who can see specific parts of their profile. The Web site is free to users, and generates revenue from advertising, such as banner ads. Facebook requires a user's name and profile picture (if applicable) to be accessible by everyone. Users can control who sees other information they have shared, as well as who can find them in searches, through their privacy settings

In Nov 2011, several Facebook users reported that their accounts were hacked and their profile pictures were replaced with pornographic images. For more than a week, users news feeds were spammed with pornographic, violent and sexual contents. It has been reported that more than 200,000 accounts in Bangalore, India were hacked. Facebook has denied the claims, citing that safety of the users was on the top of their priority list

There has been much user discontent over Facebook's mandatory changeover to the new Timeline profile. Some Facebook users reported discontent with having many Facebook status updates and photos from the past easily visible

US with 152.5 million members - India 43.5 million members - Indonesia 43.1 million members 

  Brazil with 37.9 million members - Mexico with 32.0 million members

Also 5 million children under 13 with accounts, and 5 million under 10 violating the site's terms of service

Facebook is now the primary method for communication by college students in the US

Mark Zuckerberg Inside Facebook  In just seven years, Mark Zuckerberg has gone from his Harvard college dorm to running a business with 800 million users, and a possible value of $100 billion.  His idea to make the world more open and connected has sparked a revolution in communication, and now looks set to have a huge impact on business too

Evolution of a Social Superpower History of Facebook, a look at how a company went from start up to Internet titan, and changed the way the world uses the Web in the process

Privacy Facebook collects as much data from its visitors as Google and Microsoft, but considerably less than Yahoo  In 2010, the security team began epanding its efforts to reduce the risks to users privacy but privacy concerns remain. On November 6, 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Beacon , which was a failed attempt to advertise to friends of users using the knowledge of what purchases friends made.Facebook's usage of its users data is now under close scrutiny

Updating data sharing policy  An attempt to give us more clarity on how they use information they share,   They are notifying more than 900 million users of the changes through advertisements around the site and on its mobile apps. Users who want to dig deeper can read a version of the policy that highlights the changes word by word


Membership Register and join here now


Facebook Censorship 

How Facebook decides what content is to be published and what is to be banned has intrigued many users. Some light has now been shed on this issue. A document in this regard has been leaked to a company to which some of this business is outsourced by Facebook. The document shows that there are fairly strict guidelines about what is permissible and what is not, although these guidelines can also be quite confusing

It has been found that gory images such as those showing deep wounds or crushed limbs are allowed. Of course, these images of crushed limbs or such should not include a view of any internal organs. On the other hand, pictures showing nipples, including of breast feeding mothers are not allowed. Any form of sexual activity is also banned even if the sexual parts are covered. In contrast, foreplay even between same sex individuals is allowed, though Facebook has historically displayed a degree of bias against gay and lesbian themed images

There is some confusion with regards to material regarding drugs. It is alright to show a picture of a person using marijuana but it is not acceptable to show a drunk or unconscious person. Guns are not mentioned in this document. While Facebook doesn’t allow advertisers to promote firearms or weapons, neither the content policy document nor the 'Statement of Rights and Responsibilities' provide any indication about whether Facebook condones or disallows promotion of guns and weapons organically by users

While Facebook monitors some of the sensitive material itself, some of their content moderation work is outsourced. This is understandable, considering the amount of material that is uploaded on Facebook by their 840 million users

On the other hand, how they maintain the privacy of their users when they outsource this material is debatable. Even though Facebook says that they do not part with user information, a disgruntled employee of the outsourcing company, said he was able to link content to users’ identities.This only means that users should be careful not to upload material that they would rather not have others see, even for private viewing. They may say  comments are irrelevant or inappropriate  and will prompt you saying that your comment can’t be posted. Commenter’s toss around the very touchy censorship word.


Jai Goulding

Facebook banned this website We were puzzled and totally rejected all their allegations, as they were unfair and totally unjustified. But we didnt know what to do or who to contact. We eventually overcame this problem after a lot of research,work and enquiry. Many thanks to our webhost Atspace for their advise, support and help. We simply changed from a free sub domain name to our own unique domain giving us full access without restriction to Facebook and Google


Project Censored  They examine the coverage of news and information important to the maintenance of a healthy and functioning democracy. They define Modern Censorship as the subtle yet constant and sophisticated manipulation of reality in our mass media outlets. On a daily basis, censorship refers to the intentional non-inclusion of a news story or piece of a news story based on anything other than a desire to tell the truth. Such manipulation can take the form of political pressure (from government officials and powerful individuals), economic pressure (from advertisers and funders), and legal pressure (the threat of lawsuits from deep pocket individuals, corporations, and institutions).  In their view, the only valid justification for declining a news story is that in a medium limited by time and space, another news story was simply more important to the people of the community, whether local, national or international



Facebook Censorship Problem Facebook removed a photo of two men kissing from a user’s Wall due to an apparent violation of the site’s terms of service

They wrote that 'Content that you shared on Facebook has been removed because it violated Facebook’s 'Statement of Rights and Responsibilities'. Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook. This message serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of your account. Please read the 'Statement of Rights and Responsibilities' carefully and refrain from posting abusive material in the future. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation'

This act of censorship has received considerable attention. Certainly, it is within Facebook’s right to try to control the type of content shared on its platform, and there are some social good to be gained through content filtering and censorship (i.e. you might want to censor child porn, or links to malware sites, etc)  But there are some fundamental concerns with this case, that point to a growing censorship problem within Facebook

First, the message sent to the user indicated that 'Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook' However, if you review the site’s much lauded Statement of Rights and Responsibilities that particular language is not present. The Statement does include the directive that you will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence. Again, this is probably a reasonable restriction (although not completely without controversy) That said, nowhere in the Rights statement does it prohibit, or suggest a prohibition, on 'sexually suggestive' content as it merely restricts pornography and nudity. Therefore, not only does Facebook misquote its own 'Statement of Rights and Responsibilities' to the user when justifying the removal of content, it misapplies the statement

Elsewhere, in the site’s Community Standards page (and I’m not sure how Facebook has resolved the attitudes and preferences of a community of 800 million users into a single shared set of standards) it notes that they have a strict no nudity or pornography policy and say that any content that is inappropriately sexual will be removed. Again, the photo includes neither nudity nor pornography. How it violates the community standards remains baffling

Let’s assume for a moment that the Statement does include mention of 'sexually suggestive' content as mentioned in the warning to the user. Does the photo in question fit that description? Two fully clothed adult men kissing in public? While the image does convey emotions and affection, and perhaps might elicit arousal for some, the image is really no different from the thousands (millions?) of similar images of male female kisses that exist on Facebook. Why this is considered ‘sexually suggestive’ to such an extent that it mandates removal is beyond me

It appears that this removal was done by a (at least one) human being, and not by some automated process or algorithm. The original contributor provides a screencap of a description in Facebook’s help page answering the question 'Does Facebook remove everything that gets reported?' The answer provided indicates that a Facebook administrator looks into each report thoroughly in order to decide the appropriate course of action. Based on this, it appears that a human took a look at that photo, and decided it was indeed sexually suggestive or pornographic, and then removed it. I think I’d almost rather it had been an algorithm, as it is quite troubling that a Facebook admin, wielding such power would arrive at this conclusion

If we assume that a human is indeed deciding what is'sexually suggestive' and removing photos based on his/her judgment, who is this person (or team of people), and what standards are being used? I’ve already done pretty simple searches on Facebook and found plenty of images much more sexually suggestive than this one (including nudity) and these all remain. What does “sexually suggestive” even mean? Just suggesting the existence of human sexuality in general? Does a hug with a contemporary sex symbol count? Seriously, though, while the desire to restrict nudity and pornography is reasonable, a standard of 'sexually suggestive' is almost impossible to define, and apply evenly across 600 million users, each with their own sexual predilections

Now, there are reports that Facebook has apologized and restored the image. A statement from Facebook is provided in the Advocate Saying that the photo in question does not violate their Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and was removed in error. They apologised for the inconvenience and that’s it. No blog posts, press releases, or broader explanation by Facebook on how such an 'error' happened, what kind of content review processes are in place, or any promise to take better care. This lack of proper communication and contrition is very disappointing, but not really surprising


Becca Calvert

Censorship by Becca Calvert    I had a discussion recently with someone on twitter who is a controversial artist. They explained all the forms of censorship which I agreed with in their accuracy of identifying them. They also went onto further say how a lot of it becomes embedded into society without citizens realizing and therefore continue its mindset inadvertently and most times without recognizing it’s occurring

I always considered myself a fairly open minded and accepting person and the more I thought about it the more I realized that I was myself a victim of this mindset. I understood that what they talked about was very true and it is embedded into our not just society as a whole but to the independent person as well. I thought oh, wow ! I'm so contradicting myself, and how can I expect to really truly be free or think I live in a free country if I, and others impose our own ideas onto others without respecting the reverse

I know Jai had mentioned the issue of censorship but I hadn't really let the full meaning of it to be fully understood because of my own engrained justifying against it. I think what really set it in tho was a discussion I had with another person on twitter where I criticized them for quoting a phony band and the question arises what right I had to tell them not to and ironically my response was the same right that have you to quote it in the first place. You don't have to like it or agree but I'm allowed to as much as you

So, then I got to thinking about this issue and realized, ooh wow I was not being fair and society won't be, if we can't accept everyone’s values and opinions and in whatever form that comes in. That my freedoms of expression will only be preserved if we work to allow all of them and it’s a duty to uphold this ideal and principle no matter how against it I may be otherwise it’s a farce and it doesn't really truly exist


Breastfeeding Mums Facebook Bans  Over 400 Facebook users have had images of breastfeeding taken down. They are just doing a normal and natural thing but they’re told they're performing sexually explicit and pornographic acts. Facebook said that their policies strive to fit the needs of a diverse community while respecting everyone's interest in sharing content that is important to them, including experiences related to breastfeeding

Women around the world decided to tell the site to grow up. They are staging protests in order to get Facebook to change its longstanding policies against breast-feeding pictures. Ms Allen said that Facebook didn’t actually give her reason over banned photos. Lucy Allen, was locked out of her Facebook account for two days after she uploaded a photo of herself breastfeeding and pumping milk at the same time. She said the social network did not specify why her account was suspended, merely citing a breach of their terms of use. Its rules state that breastfeeding pictures are OK, as long as they don't feature an exposed breast and the child is not actively engaged in nursing The terms of use states users cannot upload content that is hateful, pornographic, contains nudity or incites violence. She believes that breastfeeding is just a normal part of everyday life

Women around the world, fed up with Facebook's policy of not allowing breast-feeding pictures, staged protests at Facebook offices and using Facebook to coordinate those efforts. Facebook has a long and tortured relationship with breasts It was in 2008 that Facebook first seems to have gone around removing breast feeding pictures from the site

At the time, Facebook claimed it couldn't allow pictures of breasts on a site where teenagers roam. Its stance has become more nuanced over the years. However, the San Francisco Chronicle reports that some of the world's mothers believe their pictures have been flagged as inappropriate and their accounts shut down a little too often. So they organized 'nurse-ins' around the world. And they used Facebook to coordinate their activities.The main focus of the protests was the Facebook page of breast-feeding activist Emma Kwasnica of Vancouver. She said that her account had been shut down four times and that 30 of her pictures had been flagged as inappropriate. The problem with that, of course, is that anyone can flag any of your public pictures as inappropriate

Facebook said that honest mistakes do occur, especially as more than 800 million people are on Facebook. Some would add another especially as Facebook doesn't actually have all that many employees for its vast alleged worth. The company also explains that its breast rules are akin to those of many other media outlets.

Kwasnica insists that what she was doing is perfectly normal. She told the Chronicle that people share their whole days on Facebook.  When they're eating, where they're eating, pictures of them feeding their kids spaghetti. We just see this as feeding our children

She told the Huffington Post that it is obvious to now that Facebook really has lost control of their network, especially when their written policy clearly states they support the sharing of breast feeding images, yet they say they cannot control the actions of their employees who keep removing breast feeding images and who block accounts of the users who post them usually in error, this is exasperating


Ex Lover Punished for Revenge Experts say the RavshanUsmanov's case has exposed the 'Tip of the Iceberg' of online offences that rarely go punished. Sentencing 20 year old Usmanov, the Deputy Chief Magistrate Jane Mottley said she was deterring both the offender and the community generally from committing similar crimes. She said that new age technology through Facebook gives instant access to the world. Facebook as a social networking site has limited boundaries. Incalculable damage can be done to a person's reputation by the irresponsible posting of information through that medium. With its popularity and potential for real harm, there is a genuine need to ensure the use of this medium to commit offences of this type is deterred

The harm to the victim is not difficult to contemplate. Embarrassment, humiliation and anxiety at not only the viewing of the images by persons who are known to her but also the prospect of viewing by those who are not. It can only be a matter for speculation as to who else may have seen the images. And left wondering whether those images have been stored in such a manner which at a time the complainant least expects, they will again be available for viewing, circulation or distribution

The court could cite just one other relevant case in which a 20 year old New Zealand man was sentenced to four months jail in Wellington in 2010 for posting nude pictures of his ex girlfriend on Facebook

Court papers from the original sentencing reveal discussion over the gravity of Usmanov's offence. His lawyer, Maggie Sten, argued his was not a serious offence. Ms Mottley fired back saying what could be more serious than publishing nude photographs of a woman on the internet ? She added that it's one thing to publish an article in print form with limited circulation. That may affect the objective seriousness of the offence but once it goes on the worldwide web via Facebook it effectively means it's open to anyone

In a sense this is the tip of the iceberg, there are very few convictions under harassment and indecent publication. It's not treated as the same way as, say, breaking into a bank website. There is more police support for criminal damage. In this case, he didn't slash her tyres in an act of revenge, he slashed her reputation

Facebook’s says that their ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’ Sites that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content, are not permitted on Facebook

Liberal Party website extends online concerns  Racist and sexist comments have recently been revealed on a Facebook page, used by past and present Defence Force members but is the problem a much wider one? They say the sites should be pre-moderated and not left to Facebook. The organisation posting should take the responsibility to vet the messsages 


Facebook removes photos Diane Cornwell did what many parents of children with disabilities do after a successful experience with a child who has more needs than many. She posted photos of her 7 year old son, Cole, who has Down Syndrome and is non-verbal on Facebook. On Friday afternoon, Cole had attended his first Special Olympics event, at a local high school in Davison County, North Carolina. As his mother told WCNC (News Channel 36)  he was all smiles

Diana Cornwell uploaded pictures on Facebook Friday night. There were 40 pictures in a new album. Then she logged into Facebook Sunday for another look. Facebook asked her to remove pictures of her son. Diana said the Facebook message she received mentions violating Facebook terms and asks her not to upload pictures which include hate speech, support for violent organizations or include threats to harm others. Her account was blocked for three days as a result.  She said the pictures show nothing more than her son Cole having a great time. She took pictures of him whenever she could as it was a very proud moment for them

There were a lot of special needs kids having a blast, playing games and receiving commendations for what they accomplished that day she said. And that 'remove' checkmarks were by every picture she uploaded. So she removed one, Cole with a scarecrow just to see what would happen

She got a 'thank you' for removing pictures that violate Facebook terms and her account was blocked for three days for uploading it in the first place. Cornwell said that to flag an entire album and for Facebook just to write it off as no big deal and allow it to be flagged and told to remove pictures just astounded her. Cornwell said she doesn't know if Facebook flagged the pictures, or if someone else did and Facebook picked up on it. You do have to wonder if Facebook or some live human being working for Facebook, actually looked at the photos to see why they had been flagged. Sure, it could be said that Facebook can’t be expected to look at every single photo but she was not informed. She didn't even get a notice before her account was blocked

NewsChannel 36 contacted Facebook and asked how these pictures violate their terms and who determined that, but for now haven't heard back. Cornwell added she has contacted Facebook as well but has not yet received a response. and is still waiting for an answer. Her account is still locked

But given the acknowledged popularity of the social media site and of Facebook today, they show a deep degree of insensitivity to special needs children and their families, by charging Cornwell with 'violating' the site’s terms and requesting that she remove her photos of Cole. Such censorship of photos of children having a happy experience at a Special Olympics event is simply uncalled for and troubling

Some Responses from Facebook  (How to communicate and get a response from them is a mystery) 

Facebook representative said that honest mistakes do occur, especially as more than 800 million people are on Facebook. Some would add another, especially as Facebook doesn't actually have all that many employees for its vast alleged worth. The company also explains that its rules are akin to those of many other media outlets

There are reports that Facebook apologized and restored the image. A statement from Facebook is provided in the Advocate The photo in question does not violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and was removed in error. We apologize for the inconvenience. and that’s all. No blog posts, press releases, or broader explanation by Facebook on how such an error occured, what kind of content review processes are in place, or any promise to take better care. This lack of proper communication and contrition is very disappointing, but not really surprising

NewsChannel 36 contacted Facebook and asked how these pictures violate their terms and who determined that, but did not hear back. Cornwell said she had contacted too Facebook as well but did not received a response. Her account was locked

They said that content that was shared on Facebook had been removed because it violated Facebook’s ‘Statement of Rights and Responsibilities’ Shares that contain nudity, or any kind of graphic or sexually suggestive content are not permitted on Facebook and this message serves as a warning. Additional violations may result in the termination of the account. Please read the 'Statement of Rights and Responsibilities' carefully and refrain from posting abusive material in future. Thanks in advance for your understanding and cooperation

Facebook at centre of  debate   Their censorship record is at the centre of the convergence debate. Australians appear to have growing expectations of the social media that their kids commonly use, will be regulated in some form like old media. Facebook, with its lack of responsiveness and idiosyncratic approach, hasn’t helped the anti-regulation cause in this instance.  Free speech advocates may need to resolve this tension if they’re to successfully fend off further restrictions from governments


Conclusion  Clearly from the few examples on this page which are just the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ and the whole matter of censorship, copyright infringements and pirating is an enormous ‘Can of Worms’ with no solution with only one logical conclusion . Website users are subject to courts of law and can be prosecuted for posting 'inappropriate' material. It’s also clear that websites such as Facebook and Google are so big and with so few staff, they are unable to police their guidelines, as it’s an impossible task. It’s also impossible to stop pirating online and control copyright laws and undesirable

ISP’s have recently been judged by the courts as not responsible for their customer website material and again it is not their function, business and would be impossible for them. Some countries like Australia are trying to pass legislation to store your activities from two years to forever.  There are millions of Internet and Facebook young users and millions are very young and underage. They are technologically savvy, and accessing whatever they want including pornography which many say is fine, healthy and desirable. All banned materials such as those of breast feeding women and gay men and other material, causes or issues are available on the Internet and can be found quickly and easily through the many excellent search engine services

Facebook has a  Community Standards page (How does Facebook resolve the attitudes and preferences of a community of 800 million users into a single shared set of standards) Its impossible !

Many people object to the new Facebook Timeline as they want to protect their privacy and history. But the trend is for user profile to be shared between websites as they are are considered a valuable resource. In Australia even our medical records will be are online soon, which despite claims that they are secure and private, can be hacked 


Social media and the internet are a revolution, desirable and very popular and help us make friends, communicate and share thoughts and ideas. We believe that it’s fine, important and desirable for there to be guidelines, but they should be more easily available and broadbased and realistic. It is clearly impossible for Internet Service Providers or Government to enforce them and they should just suggest and encourage user to be responsible. If not they may have to face the law and court

Everything is available on the Internet now, and kids too, are finding what ever they want.We firmly believe that there is only one solution which is desirable and healthy. There should be NO CENSORSHIP on the Internet and everyone should be able to post and express and share whatever they wish. The Internet and websites should be easily accessible, uncensored and freely available to everyone to use. They may be subject to prosecution under the normal rules of various countries, but its not hard or desirable but some people choose to be anonomous

For more great information on Censorship

Please see Internet 

Resisting internet access


Also Censorship (banned this site)


References and Links

Facebook  Wikipedia

Known Issues  Facebook

Liberal Party website extends comment concerns  Video

Dont Censure Kids with Disabilities  Petition

Facebook Removes Photos of Downs Syndrome

Ex Lover Punished for Facebook Revenge  Sydney Morning Herald

Stop Banning Breast Feeding Pics  Cnet

Breastfeeding Mums to Protest Bans  Nine News

Facebook Censorship Guidelines

Facebook Censorship Problem  Michael Zimmer

Letter Censorship Becca Calvert

SURBL  Images removed by social networks

Zuckerberg - Inside Facebook  Video

Facebook - comments inappropriate 


Project Censored

Facebook banned this website

Facebook at centre of debate Crikey







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