Excerpt: The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) announced on May 20th that it had launched TOSsed Out, a new iteration of EFF’s continuing work in tracking and documenting the ways that Terms of Service (TOS) and other speech moderating rules are unevenly applied to people by online services. Sometimes, posts are deleted. Sometimes accounts are banned. For many people, the internet represents an irreplaceable forum to express their ideas, communicate with others, etc.
We have long been fans of the EFF and were delighted to hear that cybersecurity guru Bruce Schneier is leaving IBM, in part to focus on teaching cybersecurity to the next generation but in part to focus on his role as a public interest cybersecurity specialist. Since he is already on the board of the EFF, he is in a great position to be of help.
But back to TOSsed Out, which follows in the path of Onlinecensorship.org, which EFF launched in 2014 to collect reports from users in an effort to encourage social media companies to operate with greater transparency and accountability as they regulate speech. TOSsed Out will focus on the ways that people are negatively affected by these rules and their erratic enforcement.
Commercial content moderation practices negatively affects lots of folks, especially people who are marginalized. This includes black women who share their experiences of racism to sex educators whose content is deemed too explicit. TOSsed Out’s mission is to show that trying to censor social media ends up removing legal, protected speech.