Facebook, Instagram and other social media websites had been in hot water many, many times in the past for purging content other users deem inappropriate. In order to pinpoint the exact reasons for those takedowns and to determine trends in content removals, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has created a website that tracks censorship across social media outlets. The EFF has built the platform called Online Censorship along with data-driven design company Visualizing Impact. It has resources, such as articles that talk about unjust removal of posts, but it relies on user reports to gather the data it needs.
If you want to help out, you simply need to go to the website, click “Submit a Report” and choose from the list of social media outlets. A prompt will then ask what reason the social network gave you for pulling down your post or account and to provide a screenshot or a link whenever possible.
For instance, if you’re submitting a report about Facebook, the prompt lists “inauthentic identity” and “nudity” as some of possible reasons. Facebook once pulled down a number of breastfeeding and post-mastectomy photos and is known for banning people due to its real name policy.
co-founder Jillian C. York says they’ll use the data they collect to raise public awareness on how the outlets are regulating speech. She adds: “We hope that companies will respond to the data by improving their regulations and reporting mechanisms and processes — we need to hold Internet companies accountable for the ways in which they exercise power over people’s digital lives.”