San Francisco—The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched Tracking Global Online Censorship, a website project that provides comprehensive, in-depth information about how and why social media platforms remove users’ posts, how users can appeal these take down decisions, and how the practice affects freedom of expression across the globe.

Tracking Global Online Censorship is a multi-language tool and information hub for users, researchers, and policymakers to better understand the international restrictions on speech being put into place by Facebook, Google, Twitter, and other platforms that silence voices and deprive communities, especially marginalized groups and dissenters, of a means to communicate, network, and share their stories with the world.

Even before the pandemic, online speech and information gathering played a critical role in our everyday lives. As COVID-19 continues to keep many people physically apart, large social media platforms hosting online content continue to amass incredible power over what can and cannot be said online, with little accountability or oversight. Opaque, inconsistent moderation policies and erroneous take down decisions made at scale have had dire consequences.

Tracking Global Online Censorship shines a light on how this global censorship machine works, with information, research, links, and news from EFF and trusted partners.

“Our aim is to create awareness about the consequences of platform censorship, foster collaboration among advocacy organizations to combat international speech restrictions, and empower users and marginalized groups with the information they need to fight corporate suppression of free speech,” said EFF Director of International Freedom of Expression Jillian York.

The site, available in Arabic, English, Spanish, and Swedish, contains facts on what content moderation is and looks at how platforms decide what posts or accounts to remove or disable. The site will be updated regularly with new information and resources.  There are sections about U.S. and international laws regulating online speech, and guides for how to appeal take down decisions on six leading social media platforms. Information on the site comes from EFF’s original research and commentary, curated content from key allies, mainstream or niche media publications with strong track records reporting on content moderation and speech issues, and other vetted sources.

Tracking Global Online Censorship grew out of, a joint project between the EFF and Visualizing Impact launched in 2012 to capture user experiences with content takedowns. In 2014 the project was awarded the Knight News Challenge for strengthening free expression and innovation on the internet.

Tracking Global Online Censorship was made possible with the support of the Swedish Postcode Foundation.

For the Tracking Global Online Censorship page:

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