Harvard’s project documenting online content removals changes name to Lumen

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Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society announced changes to its pioneering Chilling Effects project, including an expanded mission and a new set of international research partnerships. To better reflect this evolution in scope as well as the changes in the landscape over the 14 years since it was launched, the project has changed its name to “Lumen,” and can be found at The name borrows from the unit of measurement for visible light, highlighting the use of data for transparency reporting.

“Since Chilling Effects was founded in the wake of the passage of the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the project has been essential to the collection and study of notices sent to online platforms requesting the removal of content,” said Chris Bavitz, faculty co-director of the Berkman Center and clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School. “We are excited for Lumen to continue this important work with an expanded scope, in partnership with a collection of extraordinary institutions.”

Started in 2001 by then-Berkman fellow Wendy Seltzer and current Berkman Faculty Director Jonathan Zittrain, Chilling Effects was founded to provide a database of requests for content removal, to assist scholars and others in understanding trends in content removal demands and practices, and to facilitate research into how online intermediaries make their content removal decisions.