The Battle Against Censorship

Dariy Esenov               

 

Facebook data leaks and Craigslists’ forced closing of classifieds sections is a few of the things that you may have heard about in the past two weeks. Some may argue that limiting the posts allowed online or collecting private information are violations of our constitutional rights, which is entirely true America isn’t the only place in the world battling with censorship.

 

Recently the JapanTimes has released an article on China’s ruling Communist regime and how it’s censoring the people of its country. The recent victim of said censorship was “Feminist Voices” an organization that situated itself on Weibo (a Twitter-like platform) and WeChat (an alternative to the common messenger app) and focused on promoting feminism and women’s equality in the country. This organization boasted a large following, peaking just over quarter million since establishing in 2010 but has recently disappeared from both of its social medias. After reaching out to both social media accounts they had come to the conclusion that both accounts had deleted them due to the posting of “violations of Chinese laws and regulations”. These posts had been english translations from an American journal discussing potential future “women’s strikes” in China. What sparked all of this was the request for a more militant approach from feminists in America to combat the “misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic, and racists policies laid out by Donald Trump”. It’s hard to tell just yet how long the ban on their account will last and if it is indefinite, this report shares that the  

 

On the opposite side of the planet, Mexico is currently battling in their own war, except they’re on the side of censorship against “Fake News”. In the upcoming presidential election Mexico is weary of Russian vote manipulation through various social media outlets (primarily Facebook) and has set up a system to combat it. This system is reliant on the National Electoral Institution (INE) teaming up with Twitter, Facebook, and Google in order to ensure that only legitimate articles are being posted on the platforms. But this strategy may have been compromised, due to recent information leaks from Facebook, INE has become alarmed and worried that the partnership may lead to the questioning of the presidential election in the country. The head of the electoral authority, Lorenzo Cordova assures the public that that is not the case. The program calls itself #Verificado2018, an alliance of over 60 different news organizations that constantly scour the web in search of false articles to disprove, and it has been effective. But there is a giant looming over them, fake websites such as PejeLeaks.com and Facebook page MorenoNarcos cannot be combated. "This is the work of professionals. It's well-funded, with no trace of who's behind it," said Morena's social media coordinator, Jesus Ramirez. As a last precaution Mexico has banned the ability for donors to place campaign ads on social media profiles. This will be a new approach at censoring fake news but can prove to be extremely effective in the future. If Mexico is successful with their plan of action, this could set a precedent for all countries who choose to fairly elect their representatives.


Although the concept of strict censorship may not hit close to home just yet, Feminist Voices has shown to us how powerful some companies are just by holding our personal data and how much care we should put into every post we leave online. So next time you consider yourself safe behind the computer screen, just know that what you post may have consequences beyond your reach.