Election tampering sets back internet freedom, report finds

Freedom House offers the US a positive rating for web freedoms, however election tampering helped decrease its rating.

Freedom House

It was one other down yr for freedom on the web, a brand new report finds.

Of 63 international locations studied, web freedom worsened in 32 and acquired higher in 13, in line with the latest assessment from Freedom House, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing these freedoms. Part of the issue: election tampering within the US and 17 different international locations. 

“Governments around the globe have dramatically elevated their efforts to manipulate information on social media over the previous yr,” the report stated. The US was affected by an increase in “fabricated news articles,” in addition to divisive partisan vitriol and aggressive harassment of journalists, the report stated. 

Freedom House discovered know-how was getting used aggressively to push agenda-driven data on-line. In 33 international locations, together with Venezuela, the Philippines and Turkey, “governments were found to employ armies of ‘opinion shapers’ to spread government views, drive particular agendas and counter government critics on social media,” the report stated. “Over the last few years, the practice has become significantly more widespread and technically sophisticated, with bots, propaganda producers, and fake news outlets exploiting social media and search algorithms to ensure high visibility and seamless integration with trusted content.”

Freedom House is an impartial watchdog “dedicated to the expansion of freedom and democracy” throughout the globe. It will get funding from Facebook, Yahoo, Google, Twitter, the US State Department and others. 

The US stays a spot of relative on-line liberty, although it slipped a notch during the last yr, the report stated. China was the “worst abuser of internet freedom” for a 3rd consecutive yr. The state of affairs in China worsened with a crackdown forward of a gathering that opened Xi Jinping’s second time period as common secretary.

“The year’s restrictions included official orders to delete all online references to a newly discovered species of beetle named after Xi, which the censors reportedly found offensive given the beetle’s predatory nature,” in line with the report. The report additionally cited a stricter Chinese legislation obliging web corporations to register customers underneath their actual names and help legislation enforcement investigations.

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