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Scooped by Jacques Le Bris!

Facebook : retour de la censure pour les images d’art

Facebook : retour de la censure pour les images d’art | Toulouse networks |
Facebook a de nouveau censuré le compte d'un critique d'art à cause d’œuvres médiévales jugées trop explicites.

Lors des évènements de janvier 2015 et les attentats contre Charlie Hebdo, nombreux étaient les témoignages de soutien envers les victimes de cette folie meurtrière. Le combat pour le respect de la liberté d’expression devenait un enjeu international et les plus grandes sociétés s’engageaient alors dans ce combat.

Facebook ne dérogeait pas à la règle et entrait dans le mouvement « #jesuischarlie » et Mark Zuckerberg en personne y allait de son message sur la liberté de chacun d’exprimer ses opinions. Il semblerait que ces belles paroles se soient vite envolées puisque la censure a fait une nouvelle victime sur le réseau social.

Facebook et la censure des œuvres d’art

Ce n’est pas une première pour Facebook, on se souvient de la polémique née de la censure du tableau « L’Origine du monde » de Gustave Courbet qui a valu au réseau social un petit tour devant la justice.

Cette fois, c’est au tour de Jerry Saltz, critique d’art du New York Magazine célèbre dans le monde entier, de subir la politique de censure parfois ubuesque de Facebook. Fort de presque 150 000 followers sur Facebook et Instagram, l’homme publie logiquement des œuvres d’art datant en grande majorité du Moyen Âge et représentant souvent des scènes de tortures.  Des œuvres qui ne sont apparemment pas du goût du système de censure de Facebook qui a tout simplement suspendu le compte de l’artiste.

Jerry Saltz pointe Facebook du doigt

L’artiste, dont le compte Instagram est resté actif, n’a pas hésité à dire sa façon de penser à Facebook « À tous les membres de la police des mœurs qui se sont plaints à Facebook de la teneur “sexiste”, “abusive” et “misogyne” de mes photos médiévales : bravo !! Vous avez réussi à me faire évincer de Facebook. Vous paierez en sang, mais non du vôtre ».

En jetant un coup d’œil aux œuvres postées par Jerry Saltz, on comprend sa réaction. Le coup de gueule de l’artiste semble avoir payé puisque son compte a été réactivé depuis mais il est grand temps pour Facebook de revoir l’algorithme de son système de censure qui semble vraiment trop pointilleux. Dans tous les cas, Facebook reste très ambivalent lorsqu’il s’agit du respect de la liberté d’expression.

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Scooped by Jacques Le Bris!

Twitter’s censorship is a gray box of shame, but not for Twitter

Twitter’s censorship is a gray box of shame, but not for Twitter | Toulouse networks |
Twitter’s announcement this week that it was going to enable country-specific censorship of posts is arousing fury around the Internet. But the new policy will keep the service as powerful tool for the oppressed.


They’re gray boxes of shame alright, but not for the user, or for Twitter. It’s instead a bright signal to a country’s online citizens that their government is limiting their free speech. While the Egypt uprisings were powerful and in some part powered by Twitter, I can easily imagine a world where a censored tweet becomes the ultimate protest symbol; one that unfortunately deprives the protesters of content, but sends the message to protesters that their worst fears are right, and they ought not give up their fight.

The press organization Reporters Without Borders has sent a letter of protest to Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey, which is surprising considering the power of the gift that Dorsey has just given them. While some reporters get themselves on the ground to report from say, Syria, nothing can stop others in the U.S. or any other country from following the tweets of Syrian protesters, even if the Syrian government requests and is granted censorship of tweets within that country.


That’s the second important note: Twitter has made no mention of disabling users’ ability to tweet or of deleting a user because their tweets have been censored. Syria or some other country may choose to take down its communications grid or try to block access to Twitter, but short of such an action, it can’t stop tweets from reaching the outside world under this policy. In fact Twitter has strengthened its case to remain online in countries where free speech is threatened, possibly providing protesters with a valuable tool that would otherwise have been preemptively shut down.

If a government does engage in a cat-and-mouse game of blocking access, remember that nowhere else is the playing field more level between authorities and insurgents than online. Workarounds for Twitter blocks already exist, such as proxy servers that spoof the identity of users and their country of origin, and alternative access points (APIs) to reach the Twitter service.

Finally, reputation matters. Twitter has engendered much goodwill in the tech and international communities by its sterling behavior in both worlds. This is the company that put off a server upgrade to keep the tweets flowing from the Iran uprising in 2009, at the request of the U.S. State Department. It’s a company that’s managed to play by the rules while also leveling the playing field of communication as no other service has since Alexander Bell’s telephone. There’s nothing about this announcement that smacks of any change in policy or attitude; rather it seems like an honest attempt to abide by country-specific rules of law, while also exposing the power of those laws to citizens in countries where freedoms have been abridged. (Forbes as an example, mentions it is illegal to insult a French bureaucrat. One can imagine the uprising in France if the government tried to censor a Tweet insulting Sarkozy or one of his ministers, which would presumably lead to a rapid re-writing of that law.)

As long as no country can ever make a claim to censor a tweet on a worldwide basis, that tweet will exist somewhere on Twitter’s servers, and someone will be able to see it. By laying down clear rules for country-specific censorship, Twitter has implicitly stated that no government, company or individual has the power to eradicate a tweet it doesn’t like from the face the Earth. Twitter has laid down the rules by which it will hold countries accountable, and by which it will hold itself accountable, at least when it comes to censorship.

They are so fair as to be without precedent, and if they are violated, the world presumably will be able to see the hypocrisy in an instant. That’s a maturity that many — governments, corporations, and yes, sniping tweeters — have rarely shown when it comes to censorship or privacy policies. (Hello, SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, DMCA, Facebook and the rest!)

Besides, if Twitter were as evil as its critics would have us believe, would we be able to see the results of the ongoing #TwitterBlackout? If we are living in a world where corporations have more power than government, I’ll take that level of transparency from a new media company, every day.



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