Another Unfortunate Example Of Facebook Silencing Important Videos

from the where's-the-line dept

Another day, another case of Facebook disappearing a video that it should have left up. A politician in Hong Kong says that Facebook banned him from the site for 24 hours for a “terms of service violation” after he posted a video of him confronting men who had been following him around for weeks.

The video uploaded by Leung on August 7 showed him approaching a black car which he claimed followed him for a month. When Leung asked the two men inside the car where they came from, they replied ?grandpa? ? a slang term used for the Chinese Communist Party.

?I don?t want to know about you. Someone wants to know about you ? I don?t want to know,? said one of the men in the car.

That seems like a valuable and important video in the public interest. But Facebook didn’t think so:

Leung was informed on Tuesday night that his original video was removed for not complying with Facebook?s community standards. Shortly after, he uploaded it again and was banned from posting for 24 hours after the new post also got reported

Of course, once the story started getting press attention, suddenly Facebook restored the video. Funny how that works.

Either way, though, it’s yet another reminder of how much power some of these platforms have over important speech, and how they become centralized attack vectors for those who wish to hide such information.

Filed Under: , , ,
Companies: facebook

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Another Unfortunate Example Of Facebook Silencing Important Videos”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
22 Comments
Matthew A. Sawtell (profile) says:

Is this really surprising?

Is anyone really surprised anymore about the fine folks in Silicon Valley will be more than willing to comply to the local powers to be if they want to continue to maintain marketshare? As for the complains that come from the Beltway… {laughing} …let a thousand videos be replayed of various ‘Western Officials’ talking out of both sides of their collective arses about security/freedom over the last decade or so.

Ben (profile) says:

after the new post also got reported

This sounds like someone (or some ones) clicked “report” on the video. Similar to the TechDirt ‘Flag’ button which will hide a post. Once it hits a certain number it gets hidden/removed. All ‘grandpa’ would need to do is to have some of his ‘grandchildren’ flag the video — Facebook probably never had a real person look at it. Post another video that gets flagged and you get banned — I suspect if it happened again it might end up being permanent.

All of this sounds like a stupid automated system that can be abused to get someone banned without Facebook ever really getting a human involved.

Croaker Jianghu says:

Re:slang for police in China

Party police are lao yeye (yayay)-old grandfather or jst yey; local police are lao shushu (shoeshoe). In street languag, situationally, they are sometimes refered to in gang terms, and so DaGe ( dah guh) or laoda ( lao dah) are consecutively Big Brother and big old boss.

China, unlike America, executes corrupt cops, but in HK there is still crosover btwn cop/gangter, hence the blurred terms.

Very interesting to see an American/western news source mention the tactics of organized stalking/gang stalking/ investigation, considering that such things are the new normal in America.

The Chinese and others, like America and Britain today, employed these Red Squads back in the great leap forward, and the Chinese-just like America and the “five eyes” nations employ entire platoons of internet harassers and online trolls that cause endless ‘disruptions’ of speakers.

In other words-dont look to China as if your own nations arent doing this and more ( JTRIG and online mind control for example).Also, most feminist and SJWs online in the west are funded by your governments, and the multiplicitos corporations and NGOs that they subdiize to destroy/redirect/censor the internet, twitter, etc.

As regards ‘why dont they just post to Youtube’-its blocked on mainland.

Here’s some more ways that Chnese nationals use language online to get around censors

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/07/29/these-are-the-secret-code-words-that-let-you-criticize-the-chinese-government/

Anonymous Coward says:

“…it’s yet another reminder of how much power some of these platforms have over important speech…”

Yeah, it’s kinda like when someone says something around here, and a certain someone (who runs the place) doesn’t like it, so they “collapse” the comment so know one can see it, and then subsequently blames that censorship on “the community”.

Gilbert says:

The problem is not Facebook.

The problem is this is exactly why free speech is either complete, or it does not exist.

If free speech is not totally free, then someone else if deciding what you can say, or not. What you can see, or not. What you can read, or not.

Free speech is the most important liberty. It must be complete, and without anyone, anything, controlling it.

And because good people are more numerous than morons, even with full free speech, the good people thoughts and ideas will get over crap we are able, as a species, to produce.

alternatives() says:

What is the best tool for sucking down whaty is not on youtube?

For youtube a stack of python code will download a video – but what is the best set of software to grab video from things like IBMs ustream? It is well known links and data on the web shift – so where’s the wedsite saying “here’s the best set of tools to snag local copies of the datastreams”?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What is the best tool for sucking down whaty is not on youtube?

Many websites with videos don’t require a tool more sophisticated than copy-pasting a url from the page source.

ustream.tv (the only one you mentioned by name) appears to be one of those.

For example, here is a web page with videos of puppies and stuff:

http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/23951237

The video file locations are in the page source.

Search the page source for “media_urls”. You’re looking for something like this:

“media_urls”:{“flv”:”url-with-certain-characters-escaped-or-encoded“}

That tells you where to find some flash video file. You just need to un-escape/un-encode some characters in the url.

  • Replace each ‘/’ with a ‘/’.
  • Replace any ‘&xyz;’ with the appropriate character from this table. (TLDR, when xyz is ‘amp’, then replace ‘&‘ with ‘&’.)

So, starting with something like this, …

http://tcdn.ustream.tv/video/23951237?preset_id=1&e=some-decimal-digits&h=some-hex-digits&source=api

… you will transform it to something like this:

http://tcdn.ustream.tv/video/23951237?preset_id=1&e=some-decimal-digits&h=some-hex-digits&source=api

And that is where your video is.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: What is the best tool for sucking down whaty is not on youtube?

I re-read your comment, after replying above, and now I think I totally misinterpreted your question.

You’re saying “yeah, I know media file locations are on webpages, but where is a general tool for extracting it?”

Maybe Grilo is the kind of thing you want?

https://wiki.gnome.org/action/show/Projects/Grilo

BTW, you ask for “the best” one, without offering any information about your needs, your platform, etc.

Wherever else you intend to ask about this, more specificity might get you better answers.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...