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Facebook launches ‘clear history’ feature in three countries, allowing users to see how Facebook tracks them across the wider web and ‘disconnecting’ but not deleting data. Advertisers continue exodus from Tucker Carlson’s show after white supremacy comments, despite his large audience. Playboy magazine White House correspondent files federal court suit over suspension of his press pass. Oregon newspaper investigating a state lawmaker’s business deals faces investigation for ‘harassment’ due to persistence in trying to contact officials for comment. NBC looks into the secretive Epoch Times, which pushes false conspiracy theories and political vitriol to a massive social media audience. -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer

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


Facebook Launches ‘Clear History’ Tool–but It Won’t Delete Anything
The new feature, part of a wider set of tools covering “off-Facebook activity,” will not delete anything from Facebook’s servers, instead simply “disconnecting” data from an individual user’s account. It is initially being rolled out in Ireland, Spain, and South Korea, to be followed by a worldwide launch “over the coming months.”

Tucker Carlson’s Fox News Show Loses More Advertisers
Over the last year, dozens of advertisers have distanced themselves from Carlson, the host who caused an uproar with his recent on-air comments on white supremacy days after the mass shooting in El Paso. In the past two weeks, smaller companies, like the meditation app Calm and the online lending start-up SoFi, joined them.

Playboy Columnist Sues Trump White House over Press Pass Suspension
Playboy magazine White House correspondent Brian Karem filed suit in federal court, naming President Trump and press secretary Stephanie Grisham as defendants, and alleging that the White House has violated his Constitutional right to due process.

Oregon Officials Request Criminal Investigation into Newspaper Reporters over After-Hours Phone Calls, Email
The Malheur Enterprise, a small newspaper in eastern Oregon, spent months investigating a state lawmaker’s business deals and contract work in Malheur County. But on Monday, the newspaper reported an unusual development: Now the county wants to investigate the Malheur Enterprise—for harassment.

Trump, QAnon, and an Impending Judgment Day: Behind the Facebook-Fueled Rise of the Epoch Times
The Epoch Times, a small New York-based nonprofit news outlet, has spent more than $1.5 million on about 11,000 pro-Trump advertisements in the last six months, according to data from Facebook’s advertising archive—more than any organization outside of the Trump campaign itself.


A Journalist Exposed Corruption in Azerbaijan. The Country Continues to Persecute Her. *PEN Case List: Find out more
Khadija Ismayilova was unjustly incarcerated to silence her investigations of high-level corruption and cronyism. She was released in 2016, but the struggle still goes on. In another blatant attempt at harassment, Azerbaijan’s Supreme Court on August 7 upheld trumped-up charges of tax evasion against her.
*See PEN America’s statement

Prominent Journalists Fired at Georgia’s Rustavi-2 TV Station
Critics have said Rustavi-2’s new owner, Kibar Khalvashi, is tied closely to the current government and that his actions over the television station—formerly an outspoken opposition voice—are an attempt by the administration to stifle political dissent in the media ahead of parliamentary polls scheduled for next year.

Quebec Forks out $5m in Aid as Major Newspaper Chain Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
The Quebec government says it will invest $5 million in a French-language newspaper chain that sought bankruptcy protection. Le Groupe Capitales Médias owns daily newspapers in some of Quebec’s largest markets. The provincial government stressed the important role the newspapers play in Quebec society.

Turkey Extends Censorship Rules to Streaming Services. Critics Say Political Dissent Is the Real Target
Though presented as a way of policing explicit content, the new rules have raised concerns for free-speech advocates. They worry the government of authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aims to control an online media landscape that provides space for political criticism no longer seen on traditional media.

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