Facebook Blocking Stories About Richard O'Dwyer's Fight Against Extradition To The US

from the sad dept

Well, this is unfortunate, though Facebook does have a history of somewhat arbitrarily deciding what you can and can't talk about. A few years ago, we noted that it had blocked any link to The Pirate Bay -- even if it had nothing to do with infringing material. A year later, we discovered an even more unfortunate situation, in that it wouldn't allow any mention of Power.com -- a company it was in a legal dispute with. However, it keeps getting worse. We've written multiple times about Richard O'Dwyer's fight to prevent being extradited to the US for running a site, TVshack.net, which links to TV shows -- some of which were infringing. As we noted, there are all sorts of important questions being discussed around this case, both about copyright law and the US's influence over UK courts.

Apparently, Facebook doesn't want you discussing any of that.

The Guardian's James Ball wrote an interesting article about how some UK politicians are fighting to stop the extradition. It's a good article. But, you won't find out about it on Facebook apparently. The story details how Tim Farron, president of the LibDems, in the UK has called the extradition approval "ludicrous" and has asked the government to reconsider.

However, as James Losey discovered, Facebook won't let you post about it -- calling the article "spammy or unsafe." Specifically, it appears that (as with TPB) Facebook is blocking any and all mention of TVShack.net. However, Facebook's spam implementation is so stupidly programmed that it can't figure out that this is a story about TVShack.net in the well-respected Guardian newspaper, and not a direct link to TVShack.net. And, of course, merely linking to TVShack.net isn't against the law, so it's bizarre, obnoxious and stupid for Facebook to be blocking all such links in the first place. Finally, since the US government seized TVshack.net nearly two years ago, I don't think the site is really that unsafe any more, unless you don't trust the government to keep its server clean (which, actually, might be reasonable).
Either way, shame on Facebook for hamfisted "filtering" which blocks important and legitimate discussions. Update: Facebook has fixed this particular issue, and now lets people post that story, but it's unclear what the overall rules are.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    icon
    Mike C. (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Updated: Non-story - it works now.

    Apparently, someone at FB or Websense saw the complaints and now allow it to be shared. The issue was the third-party Websense filter that FB implements, not FB itself.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    The New Orwellian Paradigm

    Your results based on filters. Check the video about Filter Bubbles on TED.

    http://www.ted.com/talks/eli_pariser_beware_online_filter_bubbles.html

    Facebook and others define our information access just like the Editors of the bye-bye information brokers of old.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:20am

      Re: The New Orwellian Paradigm

      Somewhat related link: http://dontbubble.us/

      It's from DuckDuckGo, so season with salt to your liking.

      I, personally, have had it with Google, and use DuckDuckGo almost exclusively. Yes, it has rough edges, but for what I do in life (programming) it suits me just fine.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        GMacGuffin (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:41am

        Re: Re: The New Orwellian Paradigm

        It's totally related. Same graphics as the TED vid.

        Thanks for the heads-up on DuckDuckGo. I need to escape the bubble for work purposes more often than not.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    silverscarcat (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:14am

    All the more reason...

    Not to use Facebook.

    Glad I closed my account years ago.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Zakida Paul (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:23am

      Re: All the more reason...

      Agreed, deleting my Facebook account was the best thing I ever did.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Baldaur Regis (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:41am

      Re: All the more reason...

      ...time to scoop up that name 'silverscarcat'...soon I shall have ALL the cool names on Facebook and then, let the bidding begin....mwahahahahaha!!!!

      wait, did I say that out loud?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:08am

      Re: All the more reason...

      I have had a Facebook account since 2003. I have exactly 17 posts. Why? Because I have no desire to broadcast every detail of my less-than-cool life to people. And I value privacy.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:12am

        Re: Re: All the more reason...

        There's nothing wrong with a person delighting in shoving their banal boring life details in everybody's face--it just means they're inconsiderate.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Bengie, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:14am

        Re: Re: All the more reason...

        I use G+ like a news site, posting articles that interest me. As for stuff that actually relates to me, I have very little(almost none).

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re: All the more reason...

        I have had a Facebook account since 2003.

        Considering Facebook didn't exist until 2004, your dates may be slightly off... :) But, otherwise, your point is valid.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:40am

          Re: Re: Re: All the more reason...

          I agree the original was Facemash (Late 2003), but I was invited by an early adopter and did nothing but sign in. So technically my "Facebook" account is not valid until later. I only had access because of the person that was able to get access.

          So Mike you are correct my Facebook account is from 2004.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Markus Hopkins (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    They just don't like Mike

    I think it's worth noting that this may have been in the course of being resolved by the time Mike posted, since in the screenshot above there are 3 "shares" on facebook already. I agree it should not have happened in the first place, but at least in this instance facebook was responsive, even if it wasn't an instant fix.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Micaela (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

      Re: They just don't like Mike

      There were 6 shares when I tried yesterday and it was still blocking me, so i posted the Facebook warning instead together with the website address and the title of the article in question.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:21am

    seems to me that Facebook is losing the plot more and more. about time Zuckerberg got a grip on reality, sorted out the 'filter software' and stopped trying to dictate what is and isn't illegal.

    but then why the hell people keep worrying about CISPA is beyond me. just carry on using Facebook. that will leak even more of a persons info

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:31am

    Techdirt does the same

    Anytime I try to mention Mike *******'s night of ******* where ****** ** ******** *** ****** **** and ****** **** ****** cheeseburger **** ***** *** **** and a honeycomb, I find my post censored. Don't deny it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    terry (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 9:34am

    YAXFB

    I too am Yet Another eX-FaceBooker.

    From the comments here it kind of looks like its trending the way of Myspace.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:10am

    I love Suckerberg. Make the most widely used platform in the world, claim it to be open and for the people, then censor and data mine the hell out of it. Chaching.

    I wish I thought of it first.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Skeptical Cynic (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      Zuckerberg says this: The more info you share the more I make money. Your privacy is of no concern to me. I am amazed by the amount of information you share for my companies benefit.

      Really that is true. Paraphrased but still true.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Hmmm LOL work filtering/firewall caught one of the links too:
    Restricted Category: Proxy Avoidance
    URL attempted: http://jameslosey.com/post/21345118902/when-spam-filters-go-too-far

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Julia O'Dwyer, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Richard O'Dwyer Guardian piece

    Amazing Facebook blocking a website belonging to the US DOJ or ICE or whoever. You think they would want to get behind a future entrepreneur!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 11:49am

    Pretty funny that spammer Mark Zuckerberg...

    ...would label anything as "spammy".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Digitari, Apr 19th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

    RE

    with my face, there is No Way in Hell I would Join "facebook"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Apr 19th, 2012 @ 8:10pm

    Companies claim that because they don't exert editorial control over what their users post, that the company therefore is not responsible for what their users say.

    Fair enough.

    But when a company starts exerting editorial control over posts, particularly posts that are about news or politics, at what point does the company lose that legal protection against being sued for slander/libel for what a user posted?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    P Smout, Apr 21st, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Facebook blocking content

    All this from 'The Land Of the Free'! Amazing how restrictive free can be these days!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    One more reason to ignore Facebook.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This