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Startup company provides support for targets of online harassment through employee benefits for businesses to purchase. (See PEN America’s resources and tools to combat online harassment here.) Known hate group Westboro Baptist Church plans protests at historically black college campus graduations, including Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Atlanta, following their adoption of LGBTQ+ inclusive policies. Fiancee of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi testifies before Congress, urging for accountability from Saudi Arabia. (See PEN America’s continued call for accountability for Khashoggi’s murder here.) -Nora Benavidez, Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs

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


Startup Provides Insurance against Online Harassment
Leigh Honeywell and Logan Dean have raised a million dollars for a new business, Tall Poppy, that helps companies protect employees against trolls and hackers. Tall Poppy also assists employees with devising more secure passwords and scrubbing their information off the internet.

Hate Group Plans to Protest at Spelman, Morehouse, and Clark Graduations
Westboro Baptist Church, designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, has announced plans to protest at the upcoming commencement ceremonies for Spelman College, Morehouse College, and Clark Atlanta University.

Jamal Khashoggi’s Fiancee Urges Congress to Hold Saudi Arabia Accountable in Killing
The fiancee of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Hatice Cengiz, testified on Capitol Hill in an effort to shed a light on the importance of a free press and the dangers facing those who report on human rights violations.

What Can We Learn from the Campus Free Speech Debates?
“Proponents of [Amherst’s ‘Common Language Guide’] were working nobly to set parameters that emphasized the ideal of equality for all individuals regardless of race, gender, creed, or ethnicity. Critics of the document were, in turn, seeking to protect their personal freedom to express themselves.”


Journalist Killed in Mexican Resort of Playa Del Carmen
Francisco Romero, a Mexican journalist under a federal protection program was found shot to death in the resort town of Playa del Carmen. Romero worked for news pages on Facebook and the web that have apparently been closed for some time, reportedly including one for which two other slain Playa del Carmen journalists had worked.

Who Burned Notre Dame? Brussels Goes after Fake News as EU Election Nears
By funding fact-checking organizations, building up an in-house unit to counter disinformation from Russia, and enlisting Facebook, Google, Twitter and others, Brussels hopes to shield the 427 million people eligible to vote for the 751-seat EU chamber on May 23-26.

Trudeau Announces ‘Digital Charter,’ Tells Social Media Companies to Fight Fake News or Be Fined
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said social platforms were “failing their users.” He said his government would hold companies to account for fake news, and that they had to make major improvements to their means of dealing with the issue or there would be “meaningful financial consequences.”

This Is How an Iranian Network Created a ‘Disinformation Supply Chain’ to Spread Fake News
The Citizen Lab at University of Toronto released a case study of Endless Mayfly, “an Iran-aligned network of inauthentic websites and online personas used to spread false and divisive information primarily targeting Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Israel.” Here’s how the “disinformation supply chain” worked.

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