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Account Deactivation and Content Removal: Guiding Principles and Practices for Companies and Users

September 20, 2011

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In partnership with colleagues at the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Berkman Center is pleased to release a report on “Account Deactivation and Content Removal: Guiding Principles and Practices for Companies and Users.”

This report explores these dilemmas and recommends principles, strategies, and tools that companies and users alike can adopt to mitigate the negative effects of account deactivation and content removal. Through case examples, we outline the ways in which platform providers can have a positive impact on user trust and behavior by being more clear and consistent in developing ToU and other policies, responding to and evaluating suspected violations, and providing opportunities for recourse and appeal. We also highlight concrete actions that users can take to educate themselves about how the moderation, takedown, and abuse-prevention mechanisms work for the services they use, provide and communicate context where necessary, and engage with companies and other users around such issues.

This document grew out of an ongoing learning series hosted by the Global Network Initiative (GNI), of which the Berkman Center and CDT are founding members. Our analysis was strengthened by the experience and feedback of diverse stakeholders, including company representatives, socially responsible investors, academics, and advocates, and intends to offer realistic and concrete approaches that are rights-sensitive while also flexible enough to be practically implemented across diverse platforms and contexts.

Last updated

April 16, 2015