Follow HLS on
The New York Times
Facebook Says It’s Policing Fake Accounts. But They’re Still Easy to Spot.
Executives of Facebook, Twitter and Google pledged to Congress this week to do more to prevent the fakery that has polluted their sites. “We understand that the people you represent expect authentic experiences when they come to our platform,” Colin Stretch, the general counsel of Facebook, told the Senate Intelligence Committee...Jonathan L. Zittrain
, who studies the internet and society at Harvard, said the companies are reluctant to aggressively purge bogus users and deceptive content because of their business model, which is built on signing up more and more people. “These platforms are oriented to maximize user growth and retention,” Mr. Zittrain said. “That means not throwing up even tiny hurdles along the sign-up runway, and not closing accounts without significant cause. I suspect they figure there are enough accounts that are the subject of complaints to review without looking for more to assess.”
What If a Tyrant Can’t Be Booted Out of Office?
An op-ed by Cass Sunstein
. With the indictments of two campaign associates of then candidate Donald Trump, and the guilty plea of one of his foreign policy advisers, some people are starting to talk again about the possibility of impeachment. Let’s put contemporary issues to one side and instead ask an enduring question: Did the framers get impeachment right? In other words, does the Constitution strike the right balance?
The New York Times
The ‘Click’ Moment: How the Weinstein Scandal Unleashed a Tsunami
Forty years ago this month, Ms. magazine put sexual harassment on its cover for the first time. Understanding the sensitivity of the topic, the editors used puppets for the cover image — a male hand reaching into a woman’s blouse — rather than a photograph. It was banned from some supermarkets nonetheless. In 1977, the term sexual harassment had not been defined in the law and had barely entered the public lexicon. And yet, to read that Ms. article today, amid a profound shift in discourse, is to feel haunted by its familiarity...It was two years after that Ms. magazine cover, in 1979, that Catharine A. MacKinnon
published a groundbreaking legal argument: that sexual harassment was a form of discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It was based on a legal theory she had developed while in law school...“Ashley Judd is the butterfly of this moment,” Professor MacKinnon said of the actor who began the recent groundswell of accusations against Mr. Weinstein. “She is the one who broke it open, who has made this possible for so many other women. And so you have an explosion of it because it’s for so long been suppressed.”
Finding the Good in the Republican Tax Plan
An op-ed by Mihir Desai
. Fiercely partisan reactions are overshadowing the accomplishments of the Republican tax proposal – as well as its misguided aspects. In reality, the plan is a mixed bag that has some good, bad and ugly parts.
Trump’s Exit From Anti-Corruption Pact Helps Big Oil Hide How Much It Pays In US Taxes
The Trump administration has pulled out of a global deal to combat corruption in the fossil fuel industry, a move critics said could help oil companies keep hidden how much they pay in U.S. taxes. The Department of the Interior announced the decision on Thursday in a letter to withdraw immediately from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which compels oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to governments worldwide...“The decision to pull out was of greater symbolic significance than anything else,” Matthew Stephenson
, a Harvard Law School professor who writes a blog about corruption, told HuffPost by phone on Friday. “It indicated the U.S. no longer had an interest in working with, let alone leading, the international community on this issue.”
An ICC Investigation of the U.S. in Afghanistan: What does it Mean?
An op-ed by Alex Whiting
. The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) announced today that she will file a request with the judges of the Court to open an investigation in Afghanistan, including into allegations that U.S. military and CIA personnel committed acts of torture in connection with the conflict there. This is a big deal that could have significant implications for relations going forward between the U.S., the ICC, and States Parties of the ICC. How did we got to this point, where we are headed, and what exactly does it mean for the U.S. and the ICC?
As Mueller Picks Up Pace, Capital Roils With Talk Of Pardons And Firing
This week, Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller picked up the public pace of his team's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Indictments were unsealed, and a potentially important plea agreement revealed...Experts say there is nothing anyone could do to invalidate such pardons. A presidential pardon cannot be undone. But constitutional scholar Cass Sunstein
, author of the new book Impeachment: A Citizen's Guide, notes that the framers of the Constitution, in the Virginia ratification debate, discussed whether abuse of the pardon power would be an impeachable offense — and James Madison explicitly said it would be. "If the president counsels crimes personally or participates in a crime personally," Sunstein says, "and then exercises the pardon power so as to shelter the people who engaged in those crimes, the Virginia debate is very clear. That is an impeachable offense."