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.
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team

Filed Under: extradition, filtering, richard o'dwyer, tvshack, uk

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. icon
    Markus Hopkins (profile), 19 Apr 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.

Add Your Comment

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

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.