The internet and social media, often engines of democracy movements fighting powerful governments, are now more often being used as weapons against democracy and freedom.
That is the depressing conclusion of Freedom House's annual assessment, released Tuesday, which reported a ninth consecutive decline in internet freedom across the globe — including in the United States, where its very high marks nonetheless slipped for the third straight year.
While this country remains a beacon of internet freedom, Freedom House said, it was troubled by the expanded surveillance of the public by law enforcement and immigration agencies using social media and the internet. And it noted how disinformation campaigns continued to surround major political events of the past year such as the Senate confirmation hearings for Justice Brett Kavanaugh of the Supreme Court.
American democratic norms are facing an attack unprecedented in modern times as a result of President Trump's actions, the global democracy watchdog Freedom House says in its annual assessment of freedom around the world.
The group's president, Michael Abramowitz, uses the report to accuse Trump of undermining such pillars of American democracy as the separation of powers, a free press, an independent judiciary and the legitimacy of elections.