After the attack, writers and world leaders hailed Rushdie as a symbol of free expression. But the battle lines around his novel “The Satanic Verses” were never cleanly drawn.
As boycotts of Russia expand to include cultural exports, artists like Kirill Serebrennikov must prove they are dissident enough to enjoy a Western audience.
One of the art world’s most important events, Documenta, is at its halfway point. So far, a tiny fraction of the art has been the main topic of conversation.
Explaining the increasing politicization of the book banning debate.
Last year, Hulu raised its ad-supported subscriptions by a dollar, shortly after prompting subscribers to submit more feedback on ads. Since 2017, vocal members in the Hulu community have complained about seeing the same political ads “1,000 times,” with some claiming they were repeatedly served ads from Republicans that spread misinformation. After President Biden was elected in 2020, others complained about “Democratic propaganda.” Many suggested Hulu wasn’t the place for political ads, with one post pitching a new Hulu policy of “no political ads” getting more than 2,000 votes.
At least one subscriber in the forum claimed that regardless of content, Hulu was financially motivated to sell political ads, but this week Hulu has taken actions that seemingly respond to subscribers’ longtime complaints—by blocking more political ads. Democrats have claimed that Hulu blocked political ads discussing key party issues like abortion rights, gun control, and climate change, sparking an entirely different backlash and a Twitter rally cry to #BoycottHulu.
“Hulu’s censorship of the truth is outrageous, offensive, and another step down a dangerous path for our country,” executive directors of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Democratic Governors Association told The Washington Post in a statement. “Voters have the right to know the facts about MAGA Republicans’ agenda on issues like abortion—and Hulu is doing a huge disservice to the American people by blocking voters from learning the truth about the GOP record or denying these issues from even being discussed.”
A serious strain of self-censorship has taken root within the left-leaning publishing industry.
Geling Yan says that she is owed a screen credit for the Chinese film “One Second” — and that companies bringing it to Western audiences are complicit in censoring her.
Librarians respond to book bans. Also: The Jan. 6 hearing; a Supreme Court test; anti-abortion states; homelessness in California; acting for change locally.
When Facebook and Instagram began removing posts about abortion that didn’t violate any community standards, at least two US lawmakers decided that Meta’s apparent practice of censoring pro-choice advocates needed more scrutiny.
Last week, Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) sent a letter to Meta asking what the company plans to do to end abortion-post censorship on its platforms. They gave Meta until this Friday, July 15, to respond, placing urgency on their request and seeking evidence that the company is taking immediate action.
Examples of censorship cited in the letter include instances where Facebook and Instagram removed “posts providing accurate information about how to legally access abortion services” within minutes and placed sensitivity screens over a post promoting an abortion documentary. The senators also took issue with censorship of health care workers, including a temporary account suspension of an “organization dedicated to informing people in the United States about their abortion rights.”
Caustic fights over which books belong on the shelves have put librarians at the center of a bitter and widening culture war.
Web pages in the city of Kherson in south Ukraine stopped loading on people’s devices at 2:43 pm on May 30. For the next 59 minutes, anyone connecting to the Internet with KhersonTelecom, known locally as SkyNet, couldn’t call loved ones, find out the latest news, or upload images to Instagram. They were stuck in a communications blackout. When web pages started stuttering back to life at 3:42 pm, everything appeared to be normal. But behind the scenes everything had changed: Now all Internet traffic was passing through a Russian provider and Vladimir Putin’s powerful online censorship machine.
Since the end of May, the 280,000 people living in the occupied port city and its surrounding areas have faced constant online disruptions as Internet service providers are forced to reroute their connections through Russian infrastructure. Multiple Ukrainian ISPs are now forced to switch their services to Russian providers and expose their customers to the country’s vast surveillance and censorship network, according to senior Ukrainian officials and technical analysis viewed by WIRED.
The Internet companies have been told to reroute connections under the watchful eye of Russian occupying forces or shut down their connections entirely, officials say. In addition, new unbranded mobile phone SIM cards using Russian numbers are being circulated in the region, further pushing people towards Russian networks. Grabbing control of the servers, cables, and cell phone towers—all classed as critical infrastructure—which allow people to freely access the web is considered one of the first steps in the “Russification” of occupied areas.
Already a maverick in business circles, Zhou Hang has dared to openly criticize the government’s zero Covid policy — and urges his peers to speak out, too.
Despite some efforts by the largest tech companies to limit the spread of hateful content, it often remains only a click or two away.
The law, prompted by conservative complaints about censorship, prohibits big technology companies like Facebook and Twitter from removing posts based on the views they express.
The social media platforms that hold and shape our attention need to be governed in the public interest.
One thing that unites conservatives and liberals? No matter how loudly they denounce the social media platform, they don’t actually leave.
Elon Musk has invested heavily in China, where officials are willing to influence or punish companies that cross political red lines.
To make social media less toxic, the United States needs to commit to making digital platforms more transparent.
Public anger and grief over the bungled lockdown in Shanghai is creating a credibility crisis for the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, and his zero Covid policies.
Free speech absolutism might backfire when it comes to ining the company’s user base and profits.
What happens when the incarnation of a problem buys the right to decide what the problem is and how to fix it?
The problem isn’t that we disagree, it’s how we argue.
Telegram is the platform of choice for Russians seeking to escape Moscow’s propaganda web. But can it last?
U.S.-backed news outlets and Ukrainian activists use Cold War techniques and high-tech tactics to get news about the war to Russians.
I often have to ask my students to keep quiet — all in the name of open and free expression.
Most of the targeted books are about Black and L.G.B.T.Q. people, according to the American Library Association. The country’s polarized politics has fueled the rise.
Russian Twitter users noticed something strange when they tried to access the service on March 4: They couldn’t. For the previous six days, anyone trying to access Twitter from within Russia saw their Internet speed slow to a crawl, no matter how fast their connection. Then came the blackout.
Twitter going offline showed how seriously the Russian state took social media’s role in amplifying dissent about the country’s invasion of Ukraine. And it demonstrated Russia’s progress in creating a “splInternet,” a move that would effectively detach the country from the rest of the world’s Internet infrastructure. Such a move would allow Russia to control conversations more tightly and tamp down dissent—and it’s getting closer by the day.
The gold standard of digital walled gardens is China, which has managed to separate itself from the rest of the digital world with much success—although people still find their way around the Great Firewall. “I think they would aspire to [mimic China],” Doug Madory of Kentik, a San Francisco-based Internet monitoring company, says of Russia. “But it wasn’t easy for the Chinese.” China tasked huge numbers of tech experts to create its version of the Internet, and it spent huge amounts of money. By 2001, the International Center for Human Rights and Democratic Development estimated, China spent $20 billion on censorious telecom equipment every year. The famed Great Firewall is just that: a firewall that inspects every bit of traffic entering Chinese cyberspace and checks it against a block list. Most Internet traffic into China passes through three choke points, which block any untoward content. Copying the Chinese approach in Russia is something Madory believes may be beyond Russian president Vladimir Putin’s reach. “I don’t think Russia has invested that kind of energy in engineering resources to replicate it,” Madory says. “There are quite a few countries that would love to have what China’s got, but they just can’t. They haven’t got the people to do it. There’s a ways to go before Russia becomes like China.”
Two journalists — one Russian, one Ukrainian — bridge the information iron curtain.
Readers react to Ross Douthat’s column “Is This the End of the Movies?” Also: Supreme Court ethics; reading “dirty” Shakespeare.
The Finnish company played a key role in enabling Russia’s cyberspying, documents show, raising questions of corporate responsibility.
The remarkable interview was still published by journalists outside of Russia, an episode that laid bare the extraordinary, and partly successful, efforts at censorship by Moscow.
First of a two-part series: Readers discuss “cancel culture,” civility and the First Amendment, in response to an editorial. Next: Speech and self-censorship on campus.
Officials have revealed few details about the China Eastern Airlines flight that went down Monday, with the government moving quickly to control the information flow and emphasize the positive.
We will rebuild Russia, of course, slowly and patiently, just like the generation before us. But not before this one crumbles first.
The Brazilian Supreme Court has vowed to fight disinformation ahead of this year’s presidential elections. Banning the popular messaging app is its most drastic step yet.
A new poll finds Americans very anxious about the state of free speech.
Russia and China have the tendency to learn the worst from each other: tyrants, famines, purges and, now, internet censorship.
Now we must bear that failure.
Western news outlets are engaging in a tense debate over balancing an urgent need to bear witness with journalists’ ability to report freely under strict new laws there.
We do human wisdom a great disservice when we expect it to be perfectly embodied in a flawed human being.
Twitter has launched a new Tor onion service, a move that has been in the works for years but debuts as Russian President Vladimir Putin has clamped down on protests and independent media following his stalled invasion of Ukraine.
“On behalf of @Twitter, I am delighted to announce their new @TorProject onion service,” tweeted Alec Muffett, a security researcher who developed the Enterprise Onion Toolkit. EOTK, as it’s also known, allows websites to quickly add onion services.
“This is possibly the most important and long-awaited tweet that I’ve ever composed,” he added.
Russian authorities and multinational companies have erected a digital barricade between the country and the West, erasing the last remnants of independent information online.
When we censor ourselves, our learning environments suffer.
Many Ukrainians are encountering a confounding and frustrating backlash from family members in Russia who have bought into the official Kremlin messaging.
“Artillery fire lights up the sky and breaks my heart. I hope my compatriots in Ukraine are taking care of themselves and their families,” said a user on Weibo, often called China’s Twitter, on February 27. The message was quickly blocked, according to Free Weibo, a service of Great Fire, which tracks Chinese censorship online.
Two days later, a very different message appeared on Weibo: “I support fighting! America and Taiwan have gone too far.” That, too, was blocked, according to Free Weibo.
BBC and Bloomberg News were among the media outlets that instructed Russia-based reporters to cease news gathering after a new law cracked down on news and free speech.
Calling the war in Ukraine a “war” in social media, print or broadcast will be a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail. Russia also blocked access to foreign news sites.
Google, Meta, Twitter, Telegram and others are levers in the conflict, caught between demands from Ukraine, Russia, the European Union and the U.S.
Despite the Kremlin’s efforts to obscure the offensive in Ukraine, the costs of the war were already evident in both economic and social turmoil.
Google, Apple and others were warned that they must comply with a new law, which would make them more vulnerable to the Kremlin’s censorship demands.