By EDRi

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [ENDitorial: Woche der dümmsten Zensurmaßnahme | https://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_10.22_ENDitorial_Woche_der_duemmsten_Zensurmassnahme?pk_campaign=edri&pk_kwd=20121107]

Over the past few years it has become more and more frequent that
private companies get to decide what is “appropriate” or “inappropriate”
online and what sort of Internet content we are allowed to access.

Our rights to privacy and freedom of expression are increasingly put
into the hands of arbitrary decisions of private intermediaries. Instead
of a society where democratically elected governments enact laws which
are predictable and testable in court, we have an increasing number of
terms of service which result in banning of content, deletion of
profiles and censoring of material that is deemed “inappropriate”.

Recently, we have noticed a flood of examples of bizarre corporate
censorship that demonstrate the absurdity and comedy behind a very
serious problem – the abandonment of the rule of law in exchange for
corporate regulation of freedom of speech. To illustrate this
phenomenon, we picked five of the most bizarre examples and launched the
“Silly Censorship Week” on Twitter, where users could vote for the worst
case, simply by re-tweeting their favourite.

According to the number of re-tweets, the clear winner and silliest
censor is Apple, who censored the title of Naomi Wolf’s new book
“Vagina” in the itunes store. While Apple had no particular problem in
selling the book to make a profit, it did feel the need to protect its
customers from the name. As a result, Apple decided to call it V****a
instead and to replace the word throughout the book’s description. In
reaction to this, the author asked on Facebook “Why is this theme so
very very taboo — in a land of 24/7 porn and commodification of women?”

The Guardian: Naomi Wolf’s ebook covered up by Apple itunes
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2012/sep/13/naomi-wolf-vagina-apple-itunes-censors

Naomi Wolf’s comment on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/naomi.wolf.author/posts/388761331195124

And the next top 4 places are awarded to:

2nd Place:
Apple is censoring the word #jailbreak in iTunes
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/17/apple-is-censoring-the-wo_n_1524401.html

3rd Place:
Nipplegate: Bob Mankoff expounds on why the New Yorker Cartoon
department was temporarily banned from Facebook
http://nyr.kr/UFdwFw

4th Place:
Apple bans Pulitzer Prize political cartoons from iPhone
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/04/15/mark_fiore_rejected_from_app_store/

5th Place:
A mother was banned from Facebook for 7 days after posting a photo of
her 5-year-old pretending to nurse her younger sibling
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/lauren-ferrari-banned-facebook-breastfeeding_n_1709928.html

Also, please enjoy some other examples of censorship that didn’t make it
into our top five include :

Nipplegate: Bob Mankoff expounds on why the New Yorker Cartoon
department was temporarily banned from Facebook: http://nyr.kr/UFdwFw
Apple censors cartoon boobs (14.06.2010)
http://www.wired.com/business/2010/06/apple-bans-cartoon-boobs-in-joyces-ulysses/

Apple Censors – Then Approves – Gay Kiss In Oscar Wilde Comic (15.06.2010)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/15/apple-censors-gay-kiss-in_n_611553.html

Facebook controlling art: In February 2011, Facebook censored a
masterpiece by painter Gustave Courbet currently residing in Paris’s
Musee d’Orsay (8.03.2011)
http://cornellsun.com/node/46245

Amazon’s Kindle deletion: erotic, incest-themed fiction because they
”violated Amazon’s content guidelines” (15.10.2010)
http://arstechnica.com/business/2010/12/amazons-latest-kindle-deletion-erotic-incest-themed-fiction/

No transgender cartoon torsos please, we’re Facebook: Wendy Pini,
creator of a decadent sci-fi version of Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the
Red Death, learned the hard way that one does not simply post paintings
of blue-skinned hermaphrodite event planners with
indeterminately-gendered breasts to Facebook (29.07.2012)
http://lezgetreal.com/2012/07/pinis-bunchh-censored-by-facebook/

Amazon remotely deletes 1984 ebooks from Kindle: Some E-Books Are More
Equal Than Others (17.07.2009)
http://pogue.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/07/17/some-e-books-are-more-equal-than-others/

Mothers breastfeeding on Facebook, The Guardian tested it on their own
Facebook page (22.02.2012)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/22/facebook-no-nipples-rule-breastfeeding

Wendy Pini faces permanent expulsion from Facebook over the pinning of a
popular photography of Ryan McGinley, whose artwork can be seen from San
Francisco galleries to New York art blogs (19.09.2012)
http://boingboing.net/2012/09/19/facebooks-vague-rules-only-h.html

(Contribution by Kirsten Fiedler – EDRi)