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New York Times investigation shows the new breadth of Facebook user ‘data-sharing,’ including reading of private massages, phone numbers, and calendars. White House press corps expresses frustration at increasingly rare and short briefings by the press secretary after her first in three weeks lasts only 15 minutes. Fox News claims censorship when companies make business decisions to pull advertising from Tucker Carlson’s show over his denigration of immigrants. Suit filed against Texas attorney general and boards of two public universities challenges law that bars state entities from doing business with companies that boycott Israel, arguing that political views should not cost the plaintiffs paid work. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants
Internal documents show that for years Facebook gave Microsoft, Amazon, Spotify, and other tech giants far greater access to people’s data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules.

White House Briefing Room After Rare Presser: ‘Do Your Job, Sarah!’
White House press briefings were a daily—or near-daily—occurrence in both the Bush and Obama administrations and also occurred frequently at the beginning of the Trump administration. Over the past year, however, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ briefings have become more and more scarce.

Fox News Says It Won’t Let Tucker Carlson Be ‘Censored’
Carlson drew attention last week when he said in an opening monologue on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that immigration makes the United States “poorer and dirtier and more divided.” The statement led to backlash, with some companies announcing they would stop running ads on his nightly program in response.

Texas Makes Public Colleges Forbid Contractors to Boycott Israel. A Lawsuit Says That Violates the First Amendment.
The lawsuit is the latest development in higher education to call into question whether restrictions on anti-Israel speech violate the First Amendment. Professors and administrators have grappled with how employees’ intense views on the country should affect a college’s daily operations.


You Can’t Have #MeToo Without Free Speech. Just Ask Australians.
Australia’s defamation laws are absurdly unfriendly to free speech, and it is very easy to sue someone for making disparaging claims—even if the claims are true.

Facebook Blocks Netanyahu’s Son, Saying His Posts ‘Included Hate Speech’
In multiple Facebook posts, Yair Netanyahu, the older son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said he would prefer an Israel without any Muslims and mused that no attacks occurred “in Iceland and Japan where coincidentally there are no Muslims.” Facebook removed the posts after a flood of complaints.

Three Countries Where Democracy Actually Staged a Comeback in 2018
There are parts of the world where, quite unexpectedly, the struggle for democratic reform made giant strides—a reminder that the right mix of activism, leadership, and circumstances can suddenly change the course of history. Three countries where democracy staged a comeback in 2018: Ethiopia, Armenia, and Peru.

China’s Bizarre Program to Keep Activists in Check
“Recently, the Beijing police took my brother sightseeing again. Nine days, two guards, chauffeured tours. … The point was to get him out of town during the 2018 Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. … Perhaps dozens of people a year are whisked off on these exotic trips, typically diehard dissidents.”

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