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Facebook stock plunges as security chief reportedly departs the company amid disputes over handling of mushrooming revelations of weak data protections and extensive manipulation of opinion and voters in recent elections. Trump campaign consultant Cambridge Analytica’s CEO is exposed on tape offering to extort politicians, deploy sex workers, and offer bribes as part of the firm’s consulting work. Lawyers offer to defend any Trump Administration appointee who breaks constitutionally suspect non-disclosure agreement. -Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director

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


Facebook Stock Plunges As Data Scandal Takes a Dark Turn
Already reeling from reports that Cambridge Analytica had quietly harvested private information from more than 50 million users, Facebook stock plunged on Monday, erasing about $40 billion from the social media company’s market cap.

Cambridge Analytica CEO appears to talk about using bribes and sex workers to sway elections on secretly recorded news video
A British television station broadcast video Monday apparently showing the head of the data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Trump’s 2016 campaign, talking about using bribes, traps involving sex workers, and other unethical tactics to swing elections around the world.

Lawyer Offers To Represent Any Trump Staffer Who Breaks ‘Forever’ Nondisclosure Pacts
A prominent Washington, D.C., attorney said his law firm will represent, pro bono, anyone who wants to challenge the draconian nondisclosure agreements President Trump reportedly demanded early last year from his senior White House officials.

What Everyone Needs to Know About the Facebook Data Breach
“This is about you. Specifically, how the stuff you post is being used against you. Social media is free because the commodity it is selling isn’t the platform, it’s you. The business of social media is to harvest and sell information about you, through various means. . . . Which is why social media can be so easily exploited by bad actors, foreign or domestic, to target you with psychological attacks that you aren’t supposed to understand.”


European rights court condemns Turkey over journalists’ detention *PEN Case List
The journalists, Mehmet Altan and Sahin Alpay, were arrested in 2016 and accused of being members of a “terror organization” run by Fethullah Gulen, the U.S.-based preacher Erdogan blames for the attempted coup against him in July 2016. The court ruled that Turkey had abused the men’s rights to liberty, security, and freedom of expression by detaining them.

Israeli mayor cancels annual speech in Poland over new Holocaust law
An Israeli mayor pulled out of a speech to students visiting Poland after he was told to omit passages that could contravene the country’s new law on Holocaust responsibility. The cancelled speech could be the first example of censorship under the controversial new law.

Canada’s privacy watchdog asks Facebook for info on data misuse that raises ‘serious concerns’
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada wants Facebook to reveal whether any Canadians had personal information compromised when a political firm used millions of users’ data without their consent.

How Russia Meddled in its Own Elections
Putin began his long-running disioknformation campaign when he came to power in 2000, taking over Russia’s independent television channels and bringing the oligarchs who owned them to heel or ousting them from the country. Since then, he has chipped away at free expression, political dissent, and independent voices.

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