* Microsoft & Yahoo censoring emails *


Richard Moore

Original source URL:

 UPDATE: 09.20.07:12:noon:pdt:

It looks like AOL has lifted their ban. While it's still pretty early, it looks 
like we convinced AOL that you do have the right to read what you want.

    Microsoft and Yahoo are still interfering.

Microsoft is dug in and blatantly refusing to deliver messages, that's Hotmail, 
MSN, WebTV and who knows what else. Yahoo too while not communicating any 
position to us is sending a large portion of our communications to you to your 
junk mail folders, apparently according to complaints, even though readers are 
attempting to designate the newsletters as acceptable in the Yahoo mail 

[We had previously listed the names of Microsoft and Yahoo executives in this 
space. We're pulling them down for now.]

    UPDATE: 09.19.07:6:pm:pdt:

OK, at this point we'd like to focus on AOL subscribers. Our server logs 
indicate deliveries are improving. AOL users only please, are you getting your 
emails? Thanks for your efforts.

ALSO, I began over the weekend responding to every Truthout reader who wrote to 
us about their newsletters. I hit the wall on that. There's no way I can keep up
the personal responses at this volume. So check here for updates.

    Thanks to all of you!
    Marc Ash, Executive Director - t r u t h o u t

    UPDATE: 09.18.07:5:pm:pdt:

A BIG thank you to all of you who have contacted AOL, Hotmail, MSN, WebTV and 
Yahoo and demanded delivery of your Truthout communications. Bottom-line, if you
are on one of those services you are not guaranteed of being able to get your 
Truthout newsletters - regardless of what you want. We can learn from this that 
"FREE" is a farce. And when it comes to AOL, when they are your Internet 
provider, they are your mommy.

What can you do? Simple, cancel services and tell them why. Go to providers that
respect your privacy. You get better service, and they learn a lesson about 
meddling. Don't threaten to do it - do it.

In the meantime, keep the pressure on and document your communications via 

    UPDATE: 09.17.07:6:am:pdt:

OK, it appears we've started a scrum with Internet's largest players. The 
complaints from our readers are not diminishing, they're increasing.

    What to do:

For the time being just demand your email from the regular user support 
channels. If they tell you to jump through hoops say, "No ... just give me my 

Check the reader comments/complaints below - they are enlightening. Remember, we
have received far more complaints than you see posted below. These 
comments/complaints just document and illustrate the scope of the problem.

    Marc Ash, Executive Director - t r u t h o u t

    UPDATE: 09.15.07:2:pm:pdt:
    A few things are becoming apparent at this point:

1.) This problem is far larger than we understood. We are learning a lot from 
the comments sent to us by readers. So - please - keep them coming.

2.) It is becoming increasingly apparent that the Free Email Services - all of 
them - are a morass. You are a commodity to these administrators and as far as 
they are concerned your rights are your problem, not theirs. If you are serious 
about receiving TO, or any other content they are not supportive of, you are 
pretty much on your own. Bluntly stated: AOL, Microsoft, Yahoo and all of the 
domains they control restrict what you receive in your inbox. And it is at their
discretion, not yours.

    3.) We intend to fight this.

    UPDATE: 09.14.07:12:noon:pdt:

We are receiving numerous reports from readers that our communications to them 
are affected. The reader comments posted below provide valuable additional 

The most frequent question we are hearing right now is: "What can I do?" NOTHING
works better than public pressure. They can ignore us; they can't ignore you.

    AOL/Microsoft-Hotmail Preventing Delivery of Truthout Communications

    Thursday 13 September 2007

Currently, AOL- and Microsoft-related email providers, including Hotmail, are 
preventing delivery of a range of Truthout communications to thousands of our 
subscribers. Such communications include Truthout's regular newsletters and 
notifications to our subscribers from individual workstations of Truthout 
administrators informing those subscribers that they are affected.

For the most part, all other ISPs appear to be delivering Truthout 
communications normally.

While AOL has been largely evasive and silent about their reasons for blocking 
communications, our server logs and complaints from subscribers illustrate a 
clear pattern of interference. Microsoft-Hotmail, while not being forthcoming 
about their actions to the subscribers involved, have stated to our 
administrators that they are in fact "throttling" and "blocking" our 
communications. Further, the Microsoft-Hotmail administrators inform us that 
they are blocking our communications to Truthout subscribers on their systems 
due to what they describe as our "reputation."

We believe that you - not your Internet Service Provider - should decide what 
you will read. In an effort to restore service and send a clear message to the 
ISPs involved, we ask you to do the following:

1.) Keep us informed. Let us know if your newsletters suddenly stop arriving. We
have set up a special email address for those complaints.

2.) It is critically important if it does become clear that you are still on our
list, and we are sending to you, that you demand your rights. The only rights 
you have are the ones you exercise.

We are deeply sorry to all of you affected. But we are confident that this 
problem can be addressed working hand-in-hand.

    Good luck,
    Marc Ash, Executive Director - t r u t h o u t

    Comments From Affected Truthout Readers:

I have also had a problem with my newsletters from your organization, as well as
ones from antiwar organizations, now being diverted to my Yahoo bulk mailbox, 
regardless of how often I mark them as "not spam". This started several weeks 
ago, and before that I always received such messages in my regular inbox. I find
this insidious censorship frightening.

    Bekk (TO Reader - Yahoo box holder)

Please keep up the good fight Mr. Ash, I am counting on the leadership of 

    I am puzzled by the following email issue:

I have all mail improperly flagged bulk delivered from the server to my local 
machine. My ISP, ATT Yahoo, is stupidly flagging Truthout email, for which I am 
a legitimate subscriber, as [BULK].

To defeat this, I have set up a filter in Windows XP to move Truthout email to a
special, high priority folder for later reading. This filter always runs before 
a final XP email filter which moves mail labeled [BULK] to a junk folder. This 
junk filter is supposed to run last.

But regardless of this, email from Truthout always ends up in the junk mail 
folder. This is very strange, because other email is properly filtered to its 
respective folders before the junk mail filter is applied.

Are the Republican Homeland Security folks paying Microsoft to do this (I am 
only half joking)? Why can't I correctly place Truthout emails automatically in 
a protected folder when they are marked [BULK] by my ISP? My Act For Change, 
Common Dreams, eSkeptic, Care2 etc. emails all get properly sorted.

I will contact my ISP to insist that they stop flagging Truthout email [BULK]. 
This is totally wrong for a subscription service.

    Greg (TO Reader - ATT/Yahoo customer)

    Dear Marc,

Hello, my name is Connie C. and I have been a long-time subscriber to your great
service. I wish I could give to you, as I have in the past, but my funds are 
shaky right now. I will if I can. Just wanted you to know that you aren't the 
only one who is affected. I have always subscribed to the Independent and 
suddenly, I am having problems getting to their site and accessing articles,, 
esp Robert Fisk.. so you aren't alone. This really stinks, and I wanted you to 
know it. Good luck and where can I write, having problems knowing where. All the
best to you,

    Connie (TO Reader - AOL customer)

    Hi Marc,

I regularly send a copy of some of your articles to friend who has a Hotmail 

    Recently they have been returned by Hotmail stating inappropriate content.

I also made a monthly donation, by credit card, this was stopped and my internet
banking service won't allow me to re-establish the donation.

    Noel (TO Reader in Europe)

I subscribe via my Hotmail account to a couple of conservative newsletters to 
keep track of what they are doing. Hotmail is not censoring those mails at all.

What I receive is the newsletter from Conservative Alerts.com, Family Research 
Council's prayer targets newsletter, and the Northern Virginia GOP Agenda 
newsletter. I don't often go into my Hotmail account and read anything there, 
but there is no censorship of the conservative stuff.

    Karen (TO Reader - Hotmail box holder)

I have Earthlink as my ISP and have no problem with them, but now I use Windows 
Mail to download to my hard drive. Truthout is put in the junk mail until I go 
in and mark it "Not Junk." I thought that once I approved it, the problem would 
stop, but it ALWAYS goes into junk mail.

    Dick (TO Reader - Windows Mail user)

It isn't just newsletters that are being blocked - articles forwarded from 
Truthout are also being intercepted. An article on Gen. Petraeus that I 
forwarded yesterday to an AOL subscriber was marked ARTICLE NOT AVAILABLE. This 
is the kind of blatant censorship that characterized the Soviet Union under 
Stalin. The best response is for AOL and hotmail subscribers to change their ISP
- there are a lot of local servers that provide excellent service and that still
have some regard for the much-imperiled U.S. constitution.

    Ruth (TO Reader)

    Dear Sir,

Since 9/09 I have been unable to receive your newspaper until yesterday when I 

    Joseph (TO Reader - Verizon customer)

I was saddened by the report of AOL and Microsoft interfering with communication
requested by your readers.

As a former Microsoft employee I am pretty certain that type of policy would not
be implemented without some broad direction from Ballmer.

The company over the 10 years I was there became stridently conservative with 
only Jim Alchin and Bill Gates holding out as bastions of liberalism.

There are a few billboards around the Redmond campus. What would advertising 
with something like "Microsoft, what are you trying to keep people from finding 
out? - truthout.org" do for your cause?

    Robert (TO Reader)

    Hi people,

Now that you mention it, there are several Truthout messages that were forwarded
to me and which I saved in my mail folders of which I don't see a single one any
more. How can that be? Can someone clean out my Truthout messages without my 

    I use Yahoo. Is there any history of Truthout delivery issues with them?

    Thanks for your vigilance.
    Cecilia (TO Reader - Yahoo box holder)

    Dear Mark et als,

I hadn't been receiving my daily newsletter until a day or so ago when I 
received the "condensed" version - the one-paragraph blurb citing the various 
articles contained on the homepage. The newsletter is sent to my home Email 
address: •••@••.•••.

    Thank you,
    Tom (TO Reader - MSN box holder)

Guys, just to let you know, I do receive my Truthout communications at my Yahoo 
e-mail address, •••@••.•••, however, I have noticed this past week that they no
longer appear in my Inbox. Rather, they are now always delegated automatically 
to my BULK folder. I have to check my Bulk to make sure they're Truthout's, and 
usually, they are.

So, they are coming through, but for some reason, are now delegated to the dump.

I will add your Truthout address to my address book to try and correct this 
problem - nothing for you to do on your end. I just thought that, in light of 
your message about Microsoft, this was a curious development.

Keep fighting for truth. We activist/bloggers out here fighting to end this war 
- I'm a Marine mom who's sent three family members to Iraq SIX times - and 
fighting to bring sanity back to govt can't do it without you guys.

    Deanie (TO Reader - Yahoo box holder)

I receive your newsletters but have deactivated the spam filter. I wonder if 
that is the problem. The spam filter was so complete I couldn't send mail to 

    Donna (TO Reader - AOL customer)

I quickly signed up for your email subscriptions via Hotmail & Google (as a 
test). I just wanted you to know that Hotmail put your confirmation email in a 
spam folder. I almost totally missed it.

Now, we can continue to wonder why the US Justice Dept. states that we have no 
need for net neutrality.

    Wow, what a joke!
    Bill (TO Reader)

I wondered why I had not received any recent postings! I have not had Truthout 
delivered to my inbox since Sept 7th. In trying to send an email to you 
regarding this just now - using the link provided on your web site - I was 
redirected to hotmail (where I also have an account) requesting my password etc.
and was unable to send out this email to you by simply using the link. So I 
copied the service email address into a new message to send.

    Sharon (TO Reader - Hotmail box holder)

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