Welcome to the Hub's Help Center, where you'll find information about how to use the Hub, how the Hub came into being, and our site policies and guidelines.
The Hub is in beta - this means that, while you are welcome to use the site, please be aware that it is a work-in-progress, so some parts of the site will work more smoothly than others.
The Hub incorporates features that may be familiar to you from other video-sharing sites, discussion platforms, and interactive learning spaces - and we'll be adding new pieces of functionality as we go along. To get an idea of functionality we're planning to add to the Hub in coming months, click here.
The Hub is a global platform for human rights media and action, including video, audio and photos related to violations of human rights of all kinds, whether they be political, civil, social, economic or cultural rights.
The Hub is a grassroots-driven, participatory media website that enables anyone anywhere in the world with access to the internet to upload, share, discuss and take action around human rights-related media and resources.
The Hub is built in Drupal open-source software, and harnesses the potential of emerging technologies and platforms to bring together human rights activists and concerned citizens to create change. As a community-driven environment, the Hub brings under-reported and urgent human rights issues to a broader audience to inspire and catalyze action.
The Hub has three main sections: See It, Share It, and Take Action
The See It section allows you to browse media uploaded by the community as well as from Hub content allies. You can view and search media by date, location, human rights issue and uploader. Additionally, you can view media by the highest rated, most viewed and tags. Registered users can comment on media, whereas anonymous users cannot.
The Share It, section of the site features online tools that allow you to easily upload and share your media whether online or through a mobile device. Once registered, you can upload your media and resources, as well as start or join a group or discussion.
The Take Action, section of the site gives you access to online advocacy and community tools, including campaigns to join or create, and actions related to media on the site. This section also serves as a peer-learning environment that gives you access to a Video Advocacy Toolkit, and enables you to share your relevant expertise with the community and with fellow Hub users. Also, this section contains in-depth resources on human rights, research links and human rights-related events.
On the right side of every page, you will find the Search and Browse area. This enables you to quickly find the content you are interested in by using the drop-down menus or entering a phrase or keywords into the “Search box”.
To find items related to a particular issue, use the “Human Rights Issue” drop-down menu. To find items specific to a country or region, use the “Region/Countries’ drop-down menu. After you have selected your issue, region, or country, click the “Browse” button to submit your query.
If you would like to narrow your search down, click “by content type”, which enables you to search more specifically for human rights media, groups, resources, campaigns, events and actions by keyword, issue or region.
All videos uploaded to the Hub will be converted into a video format known as Flash. This has many benefits, including stable playback, even over lower- bandwidth connections, and as a result, many video websites use Flash as their main mode of video playback. The video and audio files on the Hub are streamed through an Adobe Flash Player, which should come pre-installed on your system, and should be updated automatically.
If you experience problems with video playback, you may need to remove the older versions of Flash, and then install the latest version. To uninstall Flash, follow Adobe’s instructions here.
Once you have done this, restart your computer and follow Adobe’s instructions for reinstalling Flash, here.
The Hub has 3 main sections: See It, Share It, and Take Action
On the right side of every page you will find the Search and Browse area. This enables you to find the content you are interested in quickly. You can either use the drop-down menus, or use a free text search by typing in a phrase or keywords into the Search box”.
To find items related to a particular issue, use the “Human Rights Issue” drop-down menu. To find items specific to a country or region, use the “Region/Countries’ drop-down menu. After you have selected your issue, region, or country, click the “Browse” button to submit your query.
If you are looking for the content of a particular type (video, audio, image), click the “advanced search” link and click on the button corresponding to the content type you want.
To upload media, you will need to go to the upload page The Hub accepts a wide variety of image, audio and video files, including:
Video files in particular can be extremely large, and therefore we recommend that you compress your video files before uploading them to the Hub. This is much less complicated than it sounds, and has two benefits – it means you use up less bandwidth and time when you are uploading your content, and it also takes up less space on your computer.
We will shortly be giving you a guide to compressing video files – but in the meantime, visit the Compression Clinic at fourdocs for guidance.
Many video-sharing sites provide a way for users to display videos on their own sites and blogs - you can also use this functionality, called "embedding", to display content on the Hub, if you have already uploaded your own content to another video-sharing site. To embed a piece of content from a third-party site such as YouTube or Google Video, you will need find and copy the embed code from that site. Once you have this code, go to the Upload page on the Hub, complete the upload form, and in the “Type of Media” pulldown, choose “embed content”. Then paste the embed code into the text box provided. Please be aware that if for any reason the video is removed from the original site you are embedding from, it will also disappear from the Hub.
Through the Hub, you can classify your media by country, region and human rights issue, add detailed context to each media item, and tag each media item with keywords to help other Hub users find your media easily. The more context you provide, the easier your content will be to locate, and the better the quality of information on the site as a whole.
1. Provide a descriptive title. Example: "Rights On The Line: Immigration on the Mexico/US Border"
2. Provide detailed context. See this video for an example
3. Add tags to your media. For example: Mexico, USA, immigration, human rights, border, minutemen, discrimination
Click "Submit" on the form and your media will go to the Hub Team for review. You may track the status of your media, make changes to and manage all of your content through your My Account page in the top right toolbar throughout the site. If you have questions about the review process, you can read our Content Review Policy
Once your media has been approved and is live on the site, you may add links so users can get more information, take action and participate in events related to your media.
Step 1: Click My Account in the top toolbar
Step 2: Choose the “Preferences” tab
Step 3: Enter the text you would like to appear next to your media in the text box, and enter the direct web link in the URL box to create a hyperlink from the Hub to that site
See an example of how this looks here.
Remember, you can always edit the content and links associated with your media at anytime through your My Account page.
The Hub is a destination for video, audio and photographs that capture human rights violations, or that expose human rights abuses:
In short, yes. To ensure that WITNESS upholds the basic principles of human dignity, and to help minimize and prevent direct or indirect harm resulting from any footage, audio or imagery, careful consideration will be given to content:
WITNESS cannot guarantee the authenticity or accuracy of any of the media featured on this site, but we are committed to building a Hub community that respects and upholds the following principles:
We recognize that many members of the Hub Community bring significant expertise in their areas of specialization and deep knowledge of where they are based or where they work. We would encourage subject and area specialists, activists, video experts and trainers, and other Hub community participants with significant expertise and experience to contribute their knowledge where appropriate in helping to uphold these principles. If you have expertise or experience and would like to contribute a few hours a week to the Hub community, please email hub [at] witness.org.
Is it an event or an interview? Who is in the video? Do you have their consent to disseminate and share the video? – is it ok that their identity is public? If not, how can you ensure the privacy and/or anonymity of the people depicted? (See editorial submission guidelines link)
Where do you live? Is Internet use monitored in your country? The Open Net Initiative, Reporters Without Borders and Internet Censorship Explorer are good resources for information about different types of censorship and monitoring in various countries around the world.
3) The Hub does a preliminary IP check to see which country you appear to be logging in from. If the location is a high-risk location, we will automatically recommend using the secure upload feature. Please note that the IP check is not 100% foolproof, but it will give you a good idea of what IP address is being linked to your session.
4) How much personal information are you giving out when registering for a video upload site? If possible, can you sign up for various online services anonymously, i.e. without using any personally identifiable information? We ask for the least possible personally identifying information and we do not share out information with any third party. If you consider yourself at risk but feel strongly that your media must be shared, consider using the Hub for sharing your media and avoiding commercial third parties.
5) Where are you using the Internet? In a café or other public space, or are you using it from home? You are more likely to leave information that can be used to identify you as an individual when using a public computer.
Although we are constantly working to find ways to ensure that the Hub poses the least potential risk for our users, keep in mind that ultimately it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe. If you have any further recommendations or suggestions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Hub is a global platform for human rights media and action that is designed to serve, connect and mobilize individuals, groups, advocates, educators, activists, journalists and defenders of human rights. The Hub is your community. Please take some time to read our community guidelines.
The Hub was created by WITNESS to be a venue for the most urgent human rights content from human rights organizations, grassroots activists, and citizen eyewitnesses around the world.
Allies are organizations that share this vision of the Hub, a place where we can each join in collective action to help bring to light the human rights violations that affect millions of citizens around the world – and to help bring an end to them. To see a list of our official allies please visit the Allies Page.
Groups are a way for a collection of people with a shared interest to easily share media, views and stay informed. Groups can be created by any registered member of the Hub, but any new group needs to be approved by the Hub staff. It should take less than 24 hours for us to make your group live. Before starting your own group, do a group search and see if there is already an existing group with the same interests or focus as yours.
To join a group, click the Join button on that group page. Most groups are open to any members, but some groups are set up as private, or invitation only. The administrator of these private groups will need to approve your request before you can participate.
It only takes 3 steps to create your group or organization’s page on the Hub. Through your page, you can highlight all of your group’s media, resources, campaigns and events.
Step 1: Create your Hub User Account for Your Group
Step 2: Prepare the Following Items Before You Start
Step 3: Login to the Hub and Fill in the “Create a Group” Form
Step 4: Click Submit and You’re Done!
NOTE: You will always be able to administer your group to make any changes or edits to the entries and selections you have made through your My Account page, which you can always access in the top toolbar throughout the site.
Need More Help? Email us.
This set of guidelines is intended to provide users of the Hub with a broad set of principles by which to behave and interact on the Hub, both in terms of interaction with other users, and of submission of content.
The Hub is a global platform for human rights media and action that is designed to serve, connect and mobilize individuals, groups, advocates, educators, activists, journalists and defenders of human rights.
Each and every user of the Hub makes the site what it is – from uploading media and taking action, to commenting on videos and participating in discussions. We strive to ensure that the Hub community is inclusive and safe, as well as a platform for vibrant, intelligent and passionate discussion of issues.
The Hub community is extremely broad, global in scope, and encompasses a wide variety of perspectives and life-experiences. In the interests of making the community function as well as possible, here are the Hub Community guidelines we would like you to be aware of, and which we expect all Hub users to abide by:
We may join a comment thread or discussion topic to initiate dialogue to help focus (or refocus) the discussion. We will always identify ourselves clearly as Hub staff. Our overarching aim is never to curtail debate or discussion, but to ensure that the Hub is a pleasant and welcoming environment for all users.
If you have suggestions or questions about any aspect of community participation on the Hub, you can write to hub[at]witness.org.
We take safety and security very seriously on the Hub, with respect to both Hub users and those individuals depicted in uploaded content. In general for Hub users, we encourage you to keep your personally identifiable information to a minimum on the Hub, and in some cases, not to use any personally identifiable information at all. Specifically, we recommend that you do not post your phone number or physical address for public viewing on the site and discourage you from sharing your password with others.
Moreover, many users of the Hub may find their personal security compromised if their identity is revealed or publicized. Do not invade other users’ privacy and do not reveal their personal information (including without limitation, name, location, contact details or workplace information).
Do not use your username in an effort to impersonate another, whether it be another member of the Hub Community or another individual, a Hub staff member, or the representative of another legitimate organization. In the event that you do, WITNESS reserves the right to deny use of such username and/or cancel your registration.
Do not select a username that is vulgar, obscene or misrepresents who you are to the rest of the Hub Community. In the event that you do, WITNESS reserves the right to deny use of such username and/or cancel your registration.
We suggest all users closely follow the Hub’s Safety and Security Guidelines to best protect themselves. If you need or wish to remain anonymous, you may find detailed instructions here.
It is the content and the community that make the Hub the unique, engaged community that it is.
The Hub relies not only on your participation and creation of content, but also on your efforts to identify inappropriate content on the Hub. If you are in any doubt as to the suitability of any content you would like to upload to the Hub, please refer to our Content Review Policyfor guidance. In general, you need to follow these basic guidelines to protect yourself when uploading or posting to the Hub:
If you think there is cause for immediate concern about a particular piece of content on the site, you can report content and/or another user’s behavior to Hub staff.
Each month, the Hub will feature one human rights campaign to activate Hub users and allies around a specific human rights issue. Any Hub group may create a campaign page which features its selected campaign media, information, resources, events, specific on and off-line action items and opportunities to get more involved. Upcoming featured Hub campaigns will include International Human Rights Day, Earth Day 2008, the China Olympics and the ongoing conflict in Chechnya.
It only takes 3 steps to create and build your campaign page on the Hub. However, you must be the administer of a group page on the Hub to create a campaign page. Learn more here
NOTE:Anytime you want to edit or update your campaign or group pages, click “My Account” in the top toolbar throughout the site.
Need More Help? Email hubhelp [at] witness.org
Although we are constantly working to find ways to ensure that the Hub poses the least potential risk for our users, keep in mind that ultimately it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe. By accessing the Hub or viewing any Content therein, you acknowledge that WITNESS bears no responsibility whatsoever, as to any threats to your safety which result from access to or use of the Hub. If you have any further recommendations or suggestions, please contact us at hub[at]witness.org.
In addition to the standard issues of copyright and obscenity addressed by most sites to which users upload content, you need to be aware of the potential safety and security issues related to the public distribution of human rights-related content taking place on the Hub. These safety and security concerns may affect you whether you are uploading your own content or browsing content uploaded by others and also apply to those individuals depicted in the content.
If you feel you are at risk, here are some actions you may take to protect your identity online:
Excellent overviews of online security and privacy can be found both in English and other languages at:
Although WITNESS is constantly working to identify measures that may be taken to ensure that the Hub poses the least potential risk for our users, it is your responsibility to keep yourself safe. If you have any further recommendations or suggestions, please contact us at hub[at]witness.org.
CivicActions hosts the WITNESS Video Hub on hardware housed in a secured facility at a leading Internet backbone and colocation provider. The Hub is contained in its own VPS (Virtual Private Server), which provides security separation from any other hosted websites and services. The virtualization technology being used is OpenVZ
We use Openwall GNU/*/Linux , a security-hardened server platform, on both the "host system" and the VPS. CivicActions - and not a third party - are responsible for systems and security administration of both, as well as of the website itself. This work includes, but is not limited to, keeping track of new vulnerabilities being discovered and applying software updates as necessary.
Website access is not logged by CivicActions or WITNESS, and no IP address logging occurs on our servers. PHP sessions are expired after 23 days (2,000,000 seconds). Content is served to non-registered users via Akamai, and therefore logs of that traffic are subject to Akamai log policy. A secure upload area -- one in which access logs are not retained -- will be made available in the near future.
While it is possible to browse media on the Hub without registering, in order to use the more participatory functionality on the site such as commenting, Groups, or Discussions, one must create an account using a valid email address.
WITNESS will not sell, share or trade any information you provide during registration, nor will it knowingly provide such information to another service or operator of another site without your permission.
WITNESS will not trade its database of user information with another site for any reason.
Only other registered users can see the information you choose to share publicly about yourself.
Every computer has a unique network IP address which identifies the address from which your computer is contacting the Hub. Depending on a particular user’s connection, this address may be traceable only to your ISP or internet service provider, or to a specific business, school, or home, as the case may be.
Upon access to The Hub, The Hub will initiate a preliminary IP check to see which country you appear to be logging in from. If the location is determined to be a high-risk location, The Hub will automatically recommend using our secure upload feature. Please note that WITNESS cannot ensure the accuracy of a particular IP address and is simply offered as a convenience to assist you in determining the IP address which is being used to link you to The Hub.
It is important that we are able to identify those attempting to abuse the site or other users, and are able to prevent further abuse. For this reason, WITNESS will track IP addresses for all users of the Hub to ensure that it has the ability to monitor and prevent abuse of the site. WITNESS will not track IP addresses for those uploading content to The Hub, as all users must have a valid account to upload.
When you write something on a publicly accessible portion of the Hub, please note that the content of this text may be available for view by others indefinitely, whether on the Hub itself or indexed by search engines. You may delete media that you have uploaded to the Hub.
Hosting your media on the Hub is free, secure and independent. We will never sell, share or trade your name or data to a third party. We recommend, where possible, that you host sensitive content on the Hub rather than on third-party commercial sites.
Should you choose to host your videos with third-party sites and to embed these videos to the Hub, please be aware that we cannot hold these third parties accountable for this content or for what is done with it. More importantly, we are not responsible for the security of any personal information you share with these third parties when you upload video to them.
We encourage all potential users of the Hub to register for two main reasons: to help build trust and accountability in the community, and to let you access the advanced functionality on the Hub.
Communities are built on trust, and one of the best ways of building trust is to be prepared to be accountable for what you say and do in the community. Many petition sites, for example, require that you register and confirm your identity, so that your signature genuinely counts. We want the Hub Community’s voice to count, and part of that means confirming your identity in some way.
If you have genuine security concerns about registering to use the site, whether because of your location, position or the nature of what you want to contribute to the Hub, please email the Hub Team here.
Without registering you can browse the content and community on the Hub, including:
Registering with a valid email address gives you access to a deeper range of functionality on the Hub, including the above, and:
Much of the content on the Hub is of a sensitive nature, and many of the users have concerns about their own security while uploading and using content, as well as the security of people featured in the content.
It’s very difficult to eliminate risks to users completely, but, as a human rights organization itself, WITNESS is in constant contact with experts and peer organizations on the best ways to mitigate risks to users uploading to the website, using the website, and featured on the website.
Uploading media anonymously: We do accept anonymous uploads via the internet, but even anonymous upload has its risks. We will endeavor to flag these up to you and point you to useful resources wherever possible. We will shortly be able to accept uploads directly from mobile phones, and we will update you on security risks to users uploading via cellphone at that time.
Browsing the Hub without logging in: As you see above, you can browse the site as a guest, but this means that you can’t use some of the more interactive community functionality. You are still revealing a surprising amount of information about yourself to us, even if you don’t login to the site – to find out more about this, see this post written at Global Voices Online by Hub Manager Sameer Padania.
There are three reasons why providing us with some basic information about you will make your experience and everyone’s experience on the Hub better.
First, when you register, you provide us with your valid email address, which enables you to receive the emailed link to activate your profile. Giving us your email address also means that we can contact you directly if we need to, for example, if someone comments on or flags your content, or asks for further verification. It also means that If you send us an email, we will be able to verify that it is from you, and not from someone pretending to be you.
Second, when you register or when you update your profile you can tell us what you do, which city and country you are from, and ways you might want to contribute to the community. We will use these bits of information to help users of the Hub connect better with content, information and people that they can trust, or that they find relevant.
Last, giving us your valid email address means that you can participate in, track, and share what you do at the Hub through your profile page. When you share your identity, your media and your actions with people outside the Hub, you become a mini-Hub yourself!
We will not sell to or share with any third party, without your consent, any individual data we collect from you, whether collected during the registration process or through your use of the site. We will aggregate and anonymise data to illustrate usage of the Hub to funders, partners and media.
As we add new functionality, and more Allies and people get involved at the Hub, we may need to update aspects of how we handle data – this will be communicated via the Hub blog (coming soon).
We believe that media that raises awareness and reduces impunity around human rights violations should be as widely available, shared and distributed as possible, and we want to support this as much as possible, within the confines of the law.
You retain the rights to the content you have created and chosen to upload to the Hub. By uploading content to the Hub, you are confirming that you own the rights to this content, or that it is in the public domain. When you upload your content, you can choose a license that tells others people what they can do with your content. We have adopted a system of licensing called Creative Commons, and when you upload your content, you will be asked to assign one of these licenses to it. Find out more what Creative Commons licenses are [here], and meet the licenses [here].
When it comes to other people’s content, we take copyright law extremely seriously. We support the principle of Fair Use in appropriate circumstances, and our friends at the Center for Social Media have created a toolkit to help you understand and navigate Fair Use. We believe that the only way to build a responsible community is by respecting the rights of people and media creators everywhere. All uploaded content will be screened for copyright infringement, and anything that is deemed to infringe copyright in an unacceptable fashion will not be shown on the site. Users are also able to flag media on the Hub for copyright infringement, and when cases come to our attention, we will investigate, and remove media from the site that is deemed to infringe copyright in an unacceptable fashion. Persistent copyright violators will have their accounts suspended. Click here to see our content review process.
The Hub is in beta, meaning that it is constantly evolving as we add new functionality and content. This also means that sometimes things may not work exactly as they should, so if you do come across something that isn’t working, please help us keep the Hub running smoothly by sending us an email to tell us what’s wrong.
We’ll be adding specific trouble-shooting guides as we go along, but let us know if there is anything on the site that needs a guide.
This screencast shows you how you can create a channel for your group, organization or network on the Hub. By doing so, you can:
This screencast shows how you can create an account on the Hub to:
This screencast shows you how quickly and easily you can upload your videos, audio and photographs to the Hub.