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This new digital rights report flunks the tech giants

A new report on the human-rights policies of 26 tech and telecom firms around the world delivers a harsh verdict: From Alibaba to Vodafone, they all get an F.

The 2020 Ranking Digital Rights Corporate Accountability Index, as previewed in advance of its Wednesday posting, blames this collective failure to get “even close to earning a passing grade” on widespread opacity among these firms in how they analyze, promote, and demote the speech of their customers for marketing, advertising, and content-moderation purposes.

That focus on the uses and abuses of algorithms was the major new addition to this corporate scorecard from Ranking Digital Rights (RDR), a project founded by longtime digital-human-rights advocate Rebecca MacKinnon and housed at the nonprofit New America in Washington. Founded with a Knight News Challenge grant and since underwritten by foundation grants and State-Department funding, RDR has graded the policies of tech and telecom companies worldwide since 2015.

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