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USA Today comes under intense criticism for running an op-ed by President Trump that is found by fact-checkers to contain a misleading or false information in almost every sentence. Researchers at the University of Michigan release a new tool to track fraudulent news and disinformation on social media ahead of the 2018 midterms. As more women and people of color run for public office in this election cycle, monitors identify campaign ads deemed “racist and bigoted” attacks against two candidates in California and New York. Senator Marco Rubio, co-chair of Congressional Executive Commission on China, nominates Ilham Tohti, a writer and professor imprisoned for life on separatism charges and 2014 Freedom to Write Award honoree, for the Nobel Peace Prize. Senate calls on Trump to impose sanctions on individuals found responsible for the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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



Fact-Checking President Trump’s USA Today Op-Ed on ‘Medicare-for-All’
President Trump wrote an opinion article for USA Today on Oct. 10 regarding proposals to expand Medicare to all Americans, known as Medicare-for-All, in which almost every sentence contained a misleading statement or a falsehood, including some that had been debunked in the past.

Researchers Unveil Tool to Track Disinformation on Social Media
The University of Michigan Center for Social Media Responsibility unveiled a new metric titled the “Iffy Quotient,” which determines how frequently stories from sources known to publish disinformation are shared on Facebook and Twitter. The quotient is tracked on a dashboard that compares other kinds of content shared.

Republican Attacks Take Aim at Non-White Congressional Candidates
Ads against Ammar Campa-Najjar in California’s 50th district and Antonio Delgado in New York’s 19th district, both of whom are seeking to unseat incumbent Republicans, have triggered alarm bells for targeting non-white candidates in an apparent effort to highlight their “otherness.”

Marco Rubio Wants a Nobel Peace Prize for the Most Famous Uyghur Imprisoned by China *PEN Case List
Lawmakers of the bipartisan Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), led by senator Marco Rubio, said that they intend to nominate imprisoned Uyghur academic Ilham Tohti for the Nobel Peace Prize, stepping up pressure on China over its treatment of its Muslim Uyghur population.

Senators Call on Trump to Impose Sanctions in Saudi Journalist’s Disappearance *PEN Case List
In a letter to Trump, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee triggered the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act, which gives the president 120 days to decide whether to impose sanctions on any foreign person he determines sponsored or was involved in the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi.


Myanmar Police Detain Three Journalists on Incitement Charges
Journalists from the Eleven Media Group, Kyaw Zaw Linn, Nayee Min and Phyo Wai, were arrested and sent to Insein prison. Local media reports said the Yangon regional government had filed a lawsuit against the journalists for committing an offense against the state after publishing “incorrect information” about the government.

Egypt’s ‘Fake News’ Laws Are Being Used to Silence Online Dissent
After Egyptian actress Amal Fathy walked out of a Cairo bank this May, she logged on to Facebook. Fathy posted a video where she claimed that the police officers monitoring the bank had sexually harassed her. Two days later, Egyptian police raided Fathy’s home, and was jailed for “spreading false news.”

A Software Developer Just Became the Latest Victim of China’s VPN Crackdown
A software developer, surnamed Dai, has received a three-year suspended sentence and fined around $1,400 for selling software that allowed users to dodge the Great Firewall, China’s vast online censorship apparatus. China launched a crackdown on unauthorized VPN services in 2017; their use was officially banned earlier this year.

Belfast Bakery Was Free to Refuse Gay-Marriage Cake, Court Rules
Britain’s Supreme Court supported the right of a bakery to refuse to bake a cake with a message supporting same-sex marriage, finding that its Christian owners could not be compelled to reproduce a message contrary to their beliefs, citing the US Supreme Court’s decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.

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