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Reuters journalists and 2018 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award honorees Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo granted amnesty and released from prison. (See PEN America’s reaction.) Instagram reduces the reach of posts that contain falsehoods. Director of the PEN World Voices Festival Chip Rolley shares his experience in arts and culture programming under the specter of Chinese government surveillance. The PEN World Voices Festival has begun; see the full schedule and buy tickets here! -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager

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


Instagram Is Reducing the Reach of Posts Debunked by Fact-Checkers
When one of Facebook’s fact-checking partners rates a link, image, or video as false, its future reach in the News Feed is decreased and users are warned if they try to share it. Now, in a test, Facebook-owned Instagram is taking those fact checks and applying them to the same false photos and memes on its platform.

Is Chinese-Style Surveillance Coming to the West?
“While we once hoped the internet would deliver us freedom of expression, the ability to communicate freely across borders and even be a channel for dissenting views, we now see the very opposite is occurring. Worse, the Chinese model is now being exported.”

The Legislation That Targets the Racist Impacts of Tech *Find out more at Bigot in the Machine, part of the PEN World Voices Festival
“When creating a machine-learning algorithm, designers have to make many choices: what data to train it on, what specific questions to ask, how to use predictions that the algorithm produces. These choices leave room for discrimination, particularly against people who have been discriminated against in the past.”

Russian Fake Accounts Targeted Facebook Groups
Facebook said it had removed 21 Facebook accounts, pages, and Instagram accounts that “engaged in a number of deceptive tactics, including the use of fake accounts to join Groups, impersonate other users, and to amplify allegations about a public figure working on behalf of intelligence services.”


Myanmar Releases Reuters Journalists Jailed for Reporting on Rohingya Crackdown *PEN Case List: Learn more here
Two prizewinning Reuters journalists were released from prison in Myanmar on Tuesday after more than a year in detention for covering the country’s deadly crackdown on the Rohingya minority group, ending a drama that had brought global scrutiny upon the country’s de facto civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

Freed Myanmar Journalists a Symbol of Suu Kyi’s Tarnished Image
“Former friends and supporters have looked on aghast at [Suu Kyi’s] lack of criticism over the military’s campaign against the Rohingya, which UN investigators have said amounted to genocide. Tuesday’s release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo after 511 days behind bars brought joy and relief for Myanmar’s embattled press community, but further highlighted Suu Kyi’s crippled legacy.”

Assassination Attempt on Journalist Reported in Cherkasy
Unknown attackers on May 4 staged an assassination attempt on Cherkasy-based journalist Vadym Komarov in Cherkasy, a city southeast of Kyiv. The National Police initially opened an investigation into battery that led to heavy injuries but re-qualified the case as “murder attempt” on May 6

Cambridge Analytica Whistleblower Has Book Deal
Brittany Kaiser, the former Cambridge Analytica employee who spoke out on alleged ties between the data firm and the Brexit campaign for Britain to leave the European Union, has a book deal. “Targeted: My Inside Story of Cambridge Analytica and how Trump and Facebook Broke Democracy” comes out Oct. 22.

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