After revelations that ads could be targeted based on the use of specific racist and otherwise hateful language, Facebook vows to strengthen “human review and oversight.” The University of California lends financial support to Berkeley over the costs of security associated with controversial speakers on campus, as “Free Speech Week” looms. Following his appearance at the Emmy awards, former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer claims that he did not “knowingly lie” to the American people during his tenure. –Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Coordinator

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


Facebook, After ‘Fail’ Over Ads Targeting Racists, Makes Changes
In response to a report revealing that Facebook’s online ad tools had allowed advertisers to target self-described “Jew haters” or people who had used terms like “how to burn Jews”, Facebook said that it would add “more human review and oversight” to its automated systems to prevent further misuse.

‘Substantial cost’: University of California foots major security bill for free speech
University of California plans to split the cost of security for controversial speakers, including Milo Yiannopoulos, during UC Berkley’s Free Speech Week. UC President says, “it’s a cost that the university is bearing to protect the speakers but also to protect the value of free speech…It’s a substantial cost.”

Spicer: I have not ‘knowingly’ lied to America
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said he did not “knowingly” lie to the American people. Spicer also says he regrets criticizing accurate news reports about President Barack Obama’s inauguration crowd being bigger than Trump’s.

Stone Mountain: The ugly past — and fraught future — of the biggest Confederate monument
Calls to remove what may be the planet’s largest Confederate monument have roiled Georgia’s gubernatorial election and sparked what could be the most complex of the hot-button Rebel memorial fights erupting across the country.


Russian Prosecutor Seeks Suspended Sentence For Crimean Journalist Semena
“If I am pronounced guilty it will be a verdict not only for me, a Ukrainian journalist, but a verdict against journalism as a whole in Russia” Mykola Semena, a journalist who is fighting what he says is a politically motivated separatism charge in court.

Internet shutdowns raise free speech concerns in India
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party won elections in 2014 with an emphasis on security. There has been an increase in Internet shutdown since he took office. Some are concerned the government is using internal security as a justification for hampering freedom of expression.

Saudi is lifting Skype, WhatsApp ban, but will censor calls
Spokesman for Communications and Information Technology Commission said, “under no circumstances can the user use an application for video or voice calling without monitoring and censorship by the CITG, whether the application is global or local.”

Evidence of Government Surveillance in Mexico Continues to Mount
Many investigations and revelations that have arisen in recent times strongly indicates that the Mexican government acquired espionage tools for the purpose to intimidate and silence dissent.

Emboldened China Wields Its Laws to Silence Critics From Abroad
A court proceeding against Lee Ming-cheh, an activist from Taiwan, punctuated what critics warned are China’s efforts to stifle what it perceives as threats from overseas.

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