The launches of OnlineCensorship.org today and Ranking Digital Rights on November 3 will ensure technology companies serve–rather than squelch–the free flow of news online.
Both projects seek to independently document the policies and practices of tech companies on the issues of free expression and privacy. These data can then be used by civil society, academics, and competitors to ensure companies follow best practices.
Like everyone, journalists use private platforms to disseminate news. Censorship by private companies poses different problems than censorship by states. Nonetheless, content takedowns, account suspensions, the compelled use of one’s legal name, and the release of information to authorities can be just as damaging as when states take direct action against journalists.
By holding tech companies to account when they fail to protect their users, OnlineCensorship.org (a project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Visualizing Impact) and Ranking Digital Rights (directed by CPJ board member Rebecca MacKinnon) will safeguard the integrity of platforms on which journalists rely.