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Category Archives: Censorship

Revealed: the Facebook loophole that lets world leaders deceive and harass their citizens

Julia Carrie Wong – A Guardian investigation exposes the breadth of state-backed manipulation of the platform. “Facebook has repeatedly allowed world leaders and politicians to use its platform to deceive the public or harass opponents despite being alerted to evidence of the wrongdoing. The Guardian has seen extensive internal documentation showing how Facebook handled more than 30 cases across 25 countries of politically manipulative behavior that was proactively detected by company staff. The investigation shows how Facebook has allowed major abuses of its platform in poor, small and non-western countries in order to prioritize addressing abuses that attract media attention or affect the US and other wealthy countries. The company acted quickly to address political manipulation affecting countries such as the US, Taiwan, South Korea and Poland, while moving slowly or not at all on cases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Mongolia, Mexico, and much of Latin America. “There is a lot of harm being done on Facebook that is not being responded to because it is not considered enough of a PR risk to Facebook,” said Sophie Zhang, a former data scientist at Facebook who worked within the company’s “integrity” organization to combat inauthentic behavior. “The cost isn’t borne by Facebook. It’s borne by the broader world as a whole.” Facebook pledged to combat state-backed political manipulation of its platform after the historic fiasco of the 2016 US election, when Russian agents used inauthentic Facebook accounts to deceive and divide American voters. But the company has repeatedly failed to take timely action when presented with evidence of rampant manipulation and abuse of its tools by political leaders around the world…”

Corporate America Bankrolls Voter Suppression

“Some of the biggest names in corporate America are backing state lawmakers who are pushing bills to make it more difficult to vote, a new Public Citizen report shows. Corporations have contributed $50 million since 2015 to state legislators supporting anti-voter bills, including $22 million over the past two years, according to the report, “The… Continue Reading

Biden administration will investigate Trump-era attacks on science

The New York Times – “The Biden administration will investigate Trump-era political interference in science across the government, the first step in what White House officials described as a sweeping effort to rebuild a demoralized federal work force and prevent future abuses. In a letter to the leaders of all federal agencies, the White House… Continue Reading

The Uyghur Genocide: An Examination of China’s Breaches of the 1948 Genocide Convention

Newlines Institute – “This report is the first independent expert application of the 1948 Genocide Convention to the ongoing treatment of the Uyghurs in China. It was undertaken by the Newlines Institute for Strategy and Policy, in cooperation with the Raoul Wallenberg Centre for Human Rights, in response to emerging accounts of serious and systematic… Continue Reading

Freedom in the World 2021 Democracy under Siege

Freedom House – “As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world, democracy’s defenders sustained heavy new losses in their struggle against authoritarian foes, shifting the international balance in favor of tyranny.As a lethal pandemic, economic and physical insecurity, and violent conflict ravaged the world in 2020, democracy’s defenders sustained… Continue Reading

The Capitol riot and its aftermath makes the case for tech regulation more urgent, but no simpler

TechCrunch: “Last week and throughout the weekend, technology companies took the historic step of deplatforming the president of the United States in the wake of a riot in which the US Capitol was stormed by a collection of white nationalists, QAnon supporters, and right wing activists. The decision to remove Donald Trump, his fundraising and… Continue Reading

House watchdog details extensive meddling with CDC Covid-19 reports

New documents show political appointees sought to influence at least 13 reports as they ignored warnings from career officials: “The House panel probing the Trump administration’s coronavirus response released new documents detailing political appointees’ extensive efforts to modify or scuttle scientific Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, as it also ordered top Trump health… Continue Reading

Archive, Historians, CREW Sue White House, Seek to Preserve Presidential Records During the Transition

National Security Archive – “The National Security Archive, the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, the American Historical Association, and the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington today filed suit against President Donald Trump in his official capacity, seeking to enforce the Presidential Records Act and prevent any destruction of records during the… Continue Reading

At every turn the distortion of data has been central to the U.S. government’s disastrous response to the coronavirus

Highline – HuffPo – “This is an accounting of the damage…The administration has failed on so many different fronts in its handling of the coronavirus, creating the overall impression of sheer mayhem. But there is a common thread that runs through these government malfunctions. Precise, transparent data is crucial in the fight against a pandemic—yet… Continue Reading

‘Extremely aggressive’ internet censorship spreads in the world’s democracies

“The largest collection of public internet censorship data ever compiled shows that even citizens of what are considered the world’s freest countries aren’t safe from internet censorship. The University of Michigan team used its own Censored Planet tool, an automated censorship tracking system launched in 2018, to collect more than 21 billion measurements over 20… Continue Reading

Proposal to install spyware in university libraries to protect copyrights shocks academics

Coda Story – “A recent proposal recommending the deployment of surveillance software in order to monitor those accessing academic material has drawn fire from digital rights advocates and scientists. The plan was outlined on October 22 during a virtual webinar hosted by a consortium of the world’s leading publishers of scientific journals, featuring security experts discussing the threats posed… Continue Reading

Growing Discomfort at Law Firms Representing Trump in Election Lawsuits

The New York Times via MSN – “There was Big Tobacco. There was the Bin Laden family. There was even the hated owner of the Cleveland Browns football team as he moved the franchise to Baltimore. Now Jones Day is the most prominent firm representing President Trump and the Republican Party as they prepare to… Continue Reading