Further evidence emerges of hijacked American identities being used in fake public comments to inflate support for Trump policies. Twitter temporarily suspends former Milwaukee Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr.’s account following tweets that seemed to call for violence towards members of the press; takes no action on Trump tweets that seem to threaten nuclear war. Professors and students express concerns about the Chinese government’s influence on teaching and research in the United States and Australia and the implications for academic freedom. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


American identities hijacked to fake support for Trump policies
There’s an emerging pattern of public feedback on U.S. policy changes being stuffed with fake comments from the hijacked identities of real Americans to show artificial support for Trump administration policies.

Sheriff David Clarke temporarily blocked on Twitter after violating terms of service
Former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke Jr., a vocal surrogate for President Trump on the campaign trail, was temporarily blocked from tweeting after Twitter users’ alerted the company that three of his messages violated the terms of service.

Social Media Shudders After Trump Mocks North Korea’s ‘Button’
President Trump’s tweet taunting the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un over the relative strength of the two nations’ nuclear arsenals set off a torrent of concern on Twitter—and a few jokes about masculine preoccupation with size.

China’s ‘Long Arm’
Two times in Kevin Carrico’s six years of teaching he’s been approached by students from China who told him that things they said in his classroom about sensitive subjects somehow made their way to their parents back home.


Ethiopia says it will free all political prisoners
Ethiopia’s leader has announced plans to drop charges against political prisoners and close a notorious prison camp, in a surprise move he described as an effort to “widen the democratic space for all.” It is the first time the government has acknowledged that it holds political prisoners.

In Turkey, Erdoğan Mounts a Christmas Purge of Journalists
Since the attempted coup last year, civil society in Turkey is continuing to face one of the most relentless crackdowns in the country’s history. And on Christmas Day, 17 journalists and executives from Turkey’s oldest newspaper, Cumhuriyet, went on trial, accused of supporting terrorist organizations.

Beatrix von Storch: German police accuse AfD politician of hate incitement over anti-Muslim tweet
German police have asked prosecutors to investigate a far-right lawmaker for possible incitement to hatred, after she criticized a police force for tweeting in Arabic “to appease the barbaric, Muslim, rapist hordes of men.”

ADR Congo has shut down the internet and SMS amid bloody anti-government protests
Protests demanding incumbent president Joseph Kabila step down from office turned violent after a clash with state security forces. At least seven people were killed and another 120 arrested. The government shut down internet and SMS services ahead of the protests citing “state security.”

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