We Need To Shine A Light On Private Online Censorship

Article/Op-Ed in TechDirt
Jan. 31, 2018

TechDirt published an essay by OTI's Kevin Bankston and Liz Woolery on the need to shine a light on the role tech companies play in online censorship:

"In the wake of ongoing concerns about online harassment and harmful content, continued terrorist threats, changing hate speech laws, and the ever-growing user bases of major social media platforms, tech companies are under more pressure than ever before with respect to how they treat content on their platforms—and often that pressure is coming from different directions. Companies are being pushed hard by governments and many users to be more aggressive in their moderation of content, to remove more content and to remove it faster, yet are also consistently coming under fire for taking down too much content or lacking adequate transparency and accountability around their censorship measures. Some on the right like Steve Bannon and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai have complained that social media platforms are pushing a liberal agenda via their content moderation efforts, while others on the left are calling for those same platforms to take down more extremist speech, and free expression advocates are deeply concerned that companies' content rules are so broad as to impact legitimate, valuable speech, or that overzealous attempts to enforce those rules are accidentally causing collateral damage to wholly unobjectionable speech."