First Five Newsletter: May 23, 2019

First Five

The weaponization of social media during global elections, a flood of misinformation on Facebook and more.

First Five Column

Lata Nott analyzes the role of social media in India’s recent national election as well as the European Union’s upcoming parliamentary elections, and takes a look at how social media can become weaponized as a tool to spread misleading political propaganda and disinformation. Read the column. A plain text version for publishers is available here.

First Five Podcast

What are the legal implications of using drones to gather the news? Gene Policinski, Freedom Forum Institute president, is joined by Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association, to discuss current newsgathering drone regulation and law.


A battle between the press and police is playing out in San Francisco after police raided a freelance reporter’s home. Police were seeking to uncover the source of a leaked police report about the unexpected death of the city’s former elected public defender. Media law experts have pushed back, saying that the reporter did not commit a crime when he acquired and published the police report because a police report is “not a confidential, legally protected document” and its disclosure and publication is lawful.


As the European Union’s parliamentary elections approach, Facebook has been experiencing a flood of far-right propaganda.


The Eighth Circuit federal appeals court found a city ordinance restricting signs on residential property violated the First Amendment because of its content-based exception for flags, “containing distinctive colors, patterns or symbols used as a symbol of a government or institution.”


The University of Oxford’s Computational Propaganda Project has released a study of recent tweets and Facebook posts related to the European parliamentary elections, finding that while misinformation and “junk news” is flourishing on Facebook, it seems to be tamped down on Twitter.


In the aftermath of India’s election, Bloomberg’s Saritha Rai notes the particular challenges that tech companies faced when attempting to stem the tide of fake news. “Facebook, Twitter Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. are discovering the harsh reality that disinformation and hate speech are even more challenging in emerging markets than in places like the U.S. or Europe,” Rai writes. “A new category of users, recently digital, believe almost whatever they receive — especially if it comes from family or friends. Hundreds of millions read in languages the American tech giants haven’t even begun to monitor.”

Sign Up for the First Five Newsletter

Please leave this field empty

Already registered?

Click here to update your newsletter subscriptions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *