In December 2012, Washington’s Blog reported that news on social media websites is being censored and monitored by users, website administrators, and government agencies. Censorship of the news on any forum can distort public perception but it seems particularly dangerous on social media websites because to any general user they appear to be uncensored public forums.
Websites such as Digg, Youtube, Redditt, and Facebook are all censored in different ways. Redditt’s WorldNews category, with over 2.5 million subscribers, is monitored by website administrators that erase all news reports that are sourced from blogs, which they consider to be unreliable news sources. Digg is susceptible to censorship because they rely on the public’s votes to filter irrelevant posts, meaning users can down-vote articles they don’t agree with no matter their relevancy.
Government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, have stated one reason for monitoring social media websites is to watch for ‘potential enemies.’ The Department of Defense has begun hiring people to create multiple user accounts on social media websites using fake personas to engage bloggers “posting inaccurate or untrue information.” Other methods of censorship include creating computer programs to down vote stories on websites such as Digg, which rely on user voting to filter irrelevant content.
With more people subscribed to Redditt’s censored WorldNews category than who watch any United States TV news program it becomes apparent how important it is for people seeking uncensored news to be even more careful which websites they trust for the truth.
Title: Biggest Social Media Sites Censor Alternative News
Source:Washington’s Blog, December 14, 2012
Title: You Know Those Obnoxious Posters Who Almost Seem Like Alter Egos Of The Same Person? They Actually Might Be…
Source: Washington’s Blog, February 18, 2011
Student Researcher: Emma Irving, Sonoma State University
Faculty Evaluator: Judith Friscia, Sonoma State University