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Facebook says ‘anti-spam systems’ blocked Wikileaks DNC emails following accusations of censorship


By Rebecca Stewart, Trends Editor

July 26, 2016 | 3 min read

Facebook found itself once again at the centre of new bias accusations yesterday when Wikileaks accused it of “censorship” after users online claimed they were being prevented from sharing links to files containing internal Democratic National Committee (DNC) emails.

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Facebook came under fire from Wikileaks last week

In a series of tweets, the non-profit group which publishes otherwise secret information referred to allegations that Facebook users were being obstructed from posting links to the DNC email dump.

Facebook’s chief strategy officer Alex Stamos took to Twitter to dismiss claims of censorship and respond to criticism, telling users that the issue had been fixed, with a Facebook spokesperson later saying that the ban was an accident. “Like other services, our anti-spam systems briefly flagged links to these documents as unsafe. We quickly corrected this error on Saturday evening,” the representative said.

The incident is the latest in a slew of controversies regarding Facebook’s policies around how it filters news content. Earlier this month, the social network was criticised for briefly removing a graphic video of Philando Castile dying after he was shot by a police officer. Facebook denied censoring the viral video, instead staying it had become temporarily inaccessible due to a “technical glitch” and restored it as soon as its team was able to investigate.

Back in May the company had to deal with allegations from former workers claiming they “routinely” suppressed stories of interest to conservative readers from the social network’s ‘trending’ news bar. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg stenously denied the claims but said that the platform will “continue to improve the feature” and has updated its news guidelines to make them clearer.

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