NEWS FROM THE LAB - Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who Controls Free Expression in Cyberspace? Posted by Sean @ 12:53 GMT

Monday's BBC News: Facebook lets beheading clips return to social network.

On Tuesday, Facebook published a "Fact Check".

Wednesday's BBC News: Facebook makes U-turn over decapitation video clip.

U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's reaction: I'm pleased Facebook has changed its approach on beheading videos. The test is now to ensure their policy is robust in protecting children. Despite Cameron's plea to think of the children — there's not very much he can personally do to "ensure" anything related to Facebook's content policy. Because he's impotent in the face of "the Deciders".

Deciders such as Dave Willner, not yet even 30 years old, who began his career at Facebook on the night shift answering questions about its photo uploader. Five years later, he's the head of Facebook's Content Policy.

A guy who studied anthropology and archeology. That guy, and others like him in Silicon Valley are the ones deciding on freedom of expression's future on "the web". Or then, maybe not the web as so many consumers now spend a significant amount of their time in one walled garden or another. But "cyberspace" at least.

Free Speech on the Internet: Silicon Valley is Making the Rules.

Those who care about future online expression should read Jeffery Rosen's:

  •  The Delete Squad Google, Twitter, Facebook and the new global battle over the future of free speech

Post by — @Sean