DARE: On Amazon, a QAnon Conspiracy Book Climbs the Charts—with an Algorithmic Push
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Amazon’s algorithms push a book supportive of the QAnon conspiracy to the top of its best seller list. Legislation proposing new restrictions to Kentucky’s open records law would make it one of only a handful of states that prevents nonresidents from obtaining public documents. Google employees uncover ongoing work on a censored search engine for the Chinese market. Swedish Academy to award two Nobel Prizes in literature this year, after last year’s was postponed. -Anoosh Gasparian, External Relations Manager
The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today
On Amazon, a QAnon Conspiracy Book Climbs the Charts—with an Algorithmic Push
“QAnon: An Invitation to the Great Awakening,” which has no stated author, was featured in the algorithmically generated “Hot new releases” section on Amazon’s books landing page. The book makes a variety of outlandish claims without evidence, including that the U.S. government created both AIDS and the movie Monsters Inc.
Experts Say Kentucky Bill to Block Open Records Access “Really Scary”
House Bill 387 started out as a proposal to limit citizens’ access to records related to businesses seeking financial incentives from the government for projects that could boost economic development and job creation in Kentucky, but then a legislative committee approved new restrictions to it, including the residency requirement.
Google Employees Uncover Ongoing Work on Censored China Search
A group of employees who carried out their own investigation say they are concerned that development of Project Dragonfly remains ongoing. The development has stoked anger inside Google offices, where many of the company’s 88,000 workforce previously protested against plans to launch the search engine.
THE INTERCEPT *See our open letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Democrats Planning Another Public Rebuke Of Rep. Ilhan Omar
House Democrats are again considering a vote on a new resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to recent comments by Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that senior members of the party and Jewish groups say play on anti-Semitic tropes.
NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO
Nobel Prize in Literature to be Awarded Twice this Year
Last year’s Nobel was withheld after the Swedish Academy faced a sexual misconduct scandal. The Nobel Foundation announced that “the steps that the Swedish Academy has taken and intends to take will create good opportunities for restoring trust,” and that laureates for both 2018 and 2019 will therefore be announced this autumn.
Arundhati Roy Attends Chobi Mela Event after Daylong Confusion
After daylong uncertainty, the organizers of Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography finally held an event with Man Booker Prize-winning novelist Arundhati Roy and eminent photographer Shahidul Alam. Organizers said they’d cancelled the event after the Dhaka Metropolitan Police withdrew permission given to organize the program over “unavoidable circumstances.”
DHAKA TRIBUNE *See Arundhati Roy at the 2019 PEN World Voices Festival
Berlin Protests Turkish Treatment of German Journalists
Germany’s Foreign Ministry described several German journalists being stripped of their accreditation in Turkey as “incomprehensible.” The decision has drawn sharp criticism, both in Berlin and in Ankara.
Thai Political Party Slammed with “Fake News” Charge
A representative of the ruling military junta filed a complaint against Pongsakorn Rodchompoo, the deputy leader of an up-and-coming party contesting Thailand’s general election, under the Computer Crime Act after he unwittingly sharing a false news article. Charges carry a penalty of up to five years’ imprisonment.
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