New at Reason: “A step toward Facebook.gov?”

by Walter Olson on October 13, 2013

I’ve got a new piece at Reason.com expanding on my earlier reports on the new pilot program by which Facebook will give Maryland school officials a dedicated channel with which to seek takedown of posts and other material that in their view contributes to the problem of “cyber-bullying.” I think the program represents a disturbing step toward a wider government role as arbiter of what is allowed to be said in social media, the more so as it will be difficult or impossible to know whether takedown decisions at Facebook’s discretion are an entirely neutral application of the service’s “Community Standards” or are swayed in part by the wish to keep government bodies happy. I quote various press accounts, some affording additional insight into the existing and proposed takedown process, as well as commentary by Scott Greenfield, TechDirt, and the Daily Caller in which I’m quoted. Some additional commentary: Joy Pullmann/Heartland, Josh Blackman. More: Instalanched, thanks Glenn Reynolds.

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Costly Anti-Bullying Programs Backfire
10.18.13 at 8:46 am

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1 John Burgess 10.13.13 at 9:51 am

Were I Facebook’s lawyer, I’d be very concerned that this (and actions like it) would leave Facebook vulnerable to involvement as agents acting for the state.

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