Yahoo appears to be blocking email about the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations

Who would have guessed — the elites close ranks. Yahoo(!) seems to be shutting down email about the Wall Street protests. Thinks that’s illegal?


Thinking about e-mailing your friends and neighbors about the protests against Wall Street happening right now? If you have a Yahoo e-mail account, think again. ThinkProgress has reviewed claims that Yahoo is censoring e-mails relating to the protest and found that after several attempts on multiple accounts, we too were prevented from sending messages about the “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations.

Over the weekend, thousands gathered for a “Tahrir Square”-style protest of Wall Street’s domination of American politics. The protesters, organized online and by organizations like Adbusters, have called their effort “Occupy Wall Street” and have set up the website: However, several YouTube users posted videos of themselves trying to email a message inviting their friends to visit the Occupy Wall St campaign website, only to be blocked repeatedly by Yahoo. View a video of ThinkProgress making the attempt with the same blocked message experienced by others (click full screen for a better view of the text):

ThinkProgress tried other protest websites, like and, and both messages were sent smoothly. However, emails relating to the protest were blocked with the following message (emphasis added):

Your message was not sent
Suspicious activity has been detected on your account. To protect your account and our users, your message has not been sent.
If this error continues, please contact Yahoo! Customer Care for further help.
We apologize for the inconvenience.

The YouTube video is here (unless it too is censored).

Back to illegal. In the old days, before the right-wing got their post-FDR mojo back, the FCC declared phone lines “common carriers” — meaning in plain English that owning the wires doesn’t give the phone and telegraph companies any control over the content. Cable networks aren’t common carriers, and they fought hard not to be classified as such. This is the argument for getting your Internet via DSL phone lines, by the way.

It would take a lawyer to sort this, since Yahoo(!) isn’t about the wires, but the default these days appears to favor censorship unless prevented. ThinkProgress notes that Yahoo(!) has been at this before, including partnering with the Chinese government to hand over emails from accounts the Chinese are interested in. (I’m guessing there’s a goodly sum of cash involved.)

Sounds like Internet freedom needs a Fierce Defender, someone not influenced by the goodly sums of cash available to censorers. Got one to suggest?

ThinkProgress says, Stay tuned.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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