June 13, 2018

North Carolina Republican Bob Orr, formerly a member of the state Supreme Court, announced in an editorial published in The Charlotte Observer on Wednesday that after considering the history of the Reconstruction era, he no longer supports voter ID laws. "Opponents to voter IDs contend … that it's a voter suppression ploy by Republicans aimed primarily at black voters," Orr wrote. "While I'm still not convinced of the lurking evil of such a proposal, I've changed my mind on the issue."

Orr cites Ron Chernow's biography of President Ulysses S. Grant as being the major influence behind his change of opinion. "Chernow points out that while ex-Confederates were resentful over losing the war and their 'property' in the form of slaves, the real stick in their craw was that blacks now had the right to vote," Orr observes, adding that the book "traces the horror and violence that descended upon blacks in the South attempting to participate in the most basic of democratic institutions — the right to vote. In 1868, more than 2,000 blacks were killed in Georgia alone in efforts to suppress voting."

Orr writes that it wasn't until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that "the 15th Amendment began to seriously be fulfilled for black voters in the South." He concludes: "Is it any wonder then that our fellow citizens of African-American heritage are particularly sensitive when it comes to voting issues?" Read his entire op-ed on why he's changed his mind at The Charlotte Observer. Jeva Lange

May 1, 2018

Facebook users will soon be able to opt out of the platform's browser data collection, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Tuesday.

Facebook gathers users' web browsing history — information that the company then uses to sell targeted ads — but an upcoming feature will allow users to delete the data and decline to allow Facebook to collect it again, reports Recode.

Facebook's data collection methods were heavily criticized after a third-party data firm, Cambridge Analytica, improperly used user data for political ads. The "clear history" feature is one of the first major updates to the platform since the scandal. The platform has made changes to its privacy policies, but has not yet allowed users to restrict the amount of data Facebook collects.

At Tuesday's annual developer conference, Zuckerberg also announced that Facebook would be introducing a series of features to make the platform more conducive to dating. The features, intended to aid in "building real long-term relationships — not just hook-ups," will allow users who aren't friends on Facebook to contact one another through separate, dating-centric profiles. Read more at Recode. Summer Meza

September 7, 2016

After banning news organizations he deemed unfair to him, Donald Trump has decided to end his press blacklist, CNN reports. The Washington Post, Politico, BuzzFeed, and other blacklisted organizations will all have their press credentials restored effective Thursday.

"I figure they can't treat me any worse!" Trump said in a statement provided to CNN. Mike Pence had promised five weeks ago to look into the issue.

Both candidates have been criticized for their poor relationship with the press; on Monday, Hillary Clinton held her first press conference in 275 days. Jeva Lange

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