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Brazil seeks to fight fake news ahead of divisive election

A demonstrators in support of presidential candiate Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Photo: Cris Faga / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Officials in Brazil are growing wary of fake news flooding into Facebook timelines and other online outlets, both from domestic and foreign actors, ahead of October's presidential election. They're now trying to crack down on organized attempts to mislead voters, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Americans got a detailed picture of election meddling and misinformation in Robert Mueller's indictments on Friday — and the U.S. isn't the only country dealing with these issues.

What's happening in the world’s fourth-largest democracy, per The Times:

  • Federal Police there recently created a panel consisting of law enforcement and intelligence personnel to design a strategy to block fake news materials from being produced and to limit their reach online.
  • Officials in the judiciary branch have been working with American tech companies, including Google, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp, to help them stop misinformation from spreading.
  • Officials reportedly said their efforts could cause legal and ethical troubles, citing a law that allows internet users freedom of expression protections.
  • The two front-runners in the presidential race, former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a leftist, and Congressman Jair Bolsonaro, a convervative, have lambasted local media news outlets for their critical coverage.
  • The Internet Rights Coalition, a group that opposes regulation and censorship of online content, is skeptical about the country’s effort to regulate online speech. “We have already seen troublesome initiatives” in place, The Times cited the group saying.
Khorri Atkinson 10 hours ago
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NYT: Mueller witness tried to influence White House on Gulf states

Interviews and previously undisclosed documents revealed that a witness in Robert Mueller's probe had worked for over a year to convert a Republican fundraiser into a White House influencer to help usher in deals on behalf of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times reports.

The backdrop: George Nader, a political adviser of the U.A.E. and Elliott Broidy, the RNC's deputy finance chair, reportedly urged the White House to dismiss Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's support of combative approaches to Iran and Qatar. In another case, Nader promised Broidy over a $1 billion in contracts for his private security company in exchange for deals.

David Philips 13 hours ago
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Expert Voices

Russian obstruction on Syria at UN Security Council demands response

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein speaking during a press conference at the UN Offices in Geneva.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini / AFP via Getty Images

Russia used a procedural vote on Monday to prevent UN Human Rights Commissioner Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein from presenting on human rights conditions in Syria to the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Why it matters: To date, Russia has vetoed nine resolutions aimed at intensifying pressure on Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, moves that not only counter U.S. interests but undermine the international system.