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.

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  • icon
    Vidiot (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 5:52am

    That's the ol' censorship-vs-TOS tango... Grandpa's favorite dance!

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

  • identicon
    Matthew A. Sawtell, 12 Aug 2016 @ 6:47am

    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.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 7:07am

    Smells like automated takedown after mass reports. Which would be feasible if the Chinese govt wanted to use their minions to mass report something to bury it.

    Which is another piece of evidence automated takedown systems are bound to fail.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 8:01am

    Vote with your feet

    Everyone who continues to use Facebook tacitly endorses this behavior.

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

  • icon
    Groaker (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 8:21am

    Is Facebook English for 'Grandpa?'

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

  • icon
    Ben (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 8:45am

    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.

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

  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 12 Aug 2016 @ 8:53am

    Why do it that way?

    A practical question from someone who doesn't use Facebook (I'm of the generation that hasn't quite figured out what it's useful for. Oh, and please get off my lawn.)

    Why didn't the guy just put the video on YouTube and post a link?

    Why does anybody post videos to FB in the first place?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 9:40am

      Re: Why do it that way?

      Facebook happens to be a popular site that many people already use and is convenient. I think he was more concerned about getting it out somewhere before it could be seized rather than have the privilege of reviewing the policy of many different cloud providers.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Aug 2016 @ 9:31am

      Re: Why do it that way?

      Why didn't the guy just put the video on YouTube and post a link?

      Why does anybody post videos to FB in the first place?
      Would that actually be an improvement? Youtube has a lot of anti-user stuff going on too. I'd suggest archive.org.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 9:18am

    Zuckerberg would have been making soap out of Jews had he been born a little earlier.

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

  • identicon
    Stosh, 12 Aug 2016 @ 10:24am

    "it's yet another reminder of how much power some of these platforms have over important speech"

    I must be gettin' old, I remember when "important speech" was reported by the MSM, fairly and in detail. Now water-cooler scuttlebutt is the purveyor of choice.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 1:51pm

    one of the things i find so annoying about Zuckerburg and his group of corporate charges is that he has very easily forgotten what a two faced, lying piece of shit he is, so why does he think he should have the right to act as GOD over all the rest of us, whether on Facebook or not?

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

  • identicon
    Croaker Jianghu, 12 Aug 2016 @ 9:44pm

    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/

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Aug 2016 @ 11:50pm

    "...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".

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

  • identicon
    Gilbert, 16 Aug 2016 @ 4:37am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 16 Aug 2016 @ 5:36pm

    There's little surprise about Facebook defending Grandpa, Chinese version of Big Brother.

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

  • identicon
    alternatives(), 23 Aug 2016 @ 4:46am

    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"?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2016 @ 2:58am

      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=som e-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-digi ts&source=api

      And that is where your video is.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Aug 2016 @ 3:30am

      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.

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


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