#IMWeekly: January 23, 2015

by Rebekah Heacock Jones

US: Facebook introduces "flag as false" option

Facebook added an option allowing users to flag content in their News Feeds as "purposely fake or deceitful news." Content flagged by multiple users may receive a lower page ranking, according to the company's spokesperson, who noted, “This is an update to the News Feed ranking algorithm. There are no human reviewers or editors involved. We are not reviewing content and making a determination on its accuracy, and we are not taking down content reported as false.”

Hong Kong: Privacy commissioner expresses support for "right to be forgotten"

In a recent blog post, Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner Allan Chiang Yam Wang spoke out in favor of the controversial "right to be forgotten," which was implemented in Europe last year. Chiang criticized freedom of expression activists for overstating the possible implications of the policy.

Opponents claim cybersecurity bill threatens Internet freedom

Thailand's proposed Cybersecurity Bct would give law enforcement authorities to access computers, phones, and other electronic devices without a warrant. The bill was approved by new Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who took power in a military coup last May. Since the coup, Thailand's government has cracked down on journalists and social media, banning websites and making it illegal for media sites and social media users to post content that could "create conflicts, distort facts, confuse society or lead to violence."

US: Barrett Brown sentenced to five years in prison, fined $890,000

Journalist and activist Barrett Brown was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $890,000 in restitution after being convicted of aiding the Anonymous hackers who stole credit card and other sensitive data from intelligence firm Stratfor in 2011. Brown was also convicted of obstructing a search warrant and threatening an FBI agent. Critics of the verdict argue that Brown's sentence is a sign of the US government's "nerd scare."

#IMweekly is a weekly round-up of news about Internet content controls and activity around the world. To read more, click here.