Posted on March 16, 2023
Clean up your iCloud and Google Drive to save space and money
These days, we’re always looking for ways to save a little money.
One easy way? Avoid paying more every month for extra cloud storage. If you’re anything like us, your phone’s iCloud or Google Drive can get pretty full pretty fast — and you’ll be tempted to buy more storage to backup your photos, videos and other personal data when space runs out.
In this week’s tip, we’ll show you how to clean up your cloud storage to save space and a little money at the same time.
Now that our smartphones have incredible cameras that can take high resolution photos and videos, we’re increasingly using more and more storage space on our devices — and in our cloud backups.
On a new iPhone 14 Pro, for example, you can now take hi-resolution images that can use over 70MB of space, or film a ProRes video that can easily use up multiple gigabytes of storage! All those photos and videos will easily use up your basic cloud storage space — and Apple or Google will take no time in offering you the option to pay more for extra storage.
If you’re not ready to upgrade your online storage plan just yet, here are some tips to free up space on your devices.
How to clean up space on iCloud
Depending on your settings, you could have A LOT of data backing up to your Apple iCloud, including photos, videos, notes, application data, device and computer backups, emails and attachments, data from your computer, and more. Here are a few quick tips to clean it up (and here are some official tips from Apple).
Find out what’s taking up space — and delete it
- On your Apple device, go to Settings > [Your Account Name] > iCloud. At the top, you will see how much storage you are using and which kinds of data are using it.
- Tap Manage Account Storage to see detailed information about how much data each app and service is using.
- Most of the time, Backups are the reason you are using up your data. Check to see if you have backups of devices you no longer use and delete them.
- Then check which apps are using up a lot of data. For many apps, you don’t need a cloud backup for that data.
Delete old messages
In the last step, if you noticed that messages were using up a lot of cloud storage, it might be a good time to delete some.
- On your Apple device, go to Settings > [Your Account Name] > iCloud > Manage Account Storage
- Tap Messages > Top Conversations
- You should see a list of the message threads that are taking up the most space in iCloud. From here, you can tap edit, select the conversation you wish to delete, then tap the trach button.
Delete unwanted photos and videos
Your photos and videos are probably taking up the most space in your iCloud — and for good reason! You don’t want to lose all those important moments, it’s likely there are many photos and videos that are taking up space for no reason. It’s time to delete them.
Unfortunately, there’s no simple solution to finding the photos and videos you no longer want. Go to your Photos app and start deleting the images and videos that you don’t need.
Pro-tip: Use the search function and type “videos” to pull up only videos, which can get you started on deleting data that’s using up the most space.
Delete files in your iCloud drive
If you are syncing data from your Apple computer to your iCloud account, you may want to clean up your iCloud Drive. Just like with your photos, your drive may get filled with unwanted files you never knew were being backed up and taking up space in your iCloud.
The easiest way to clean out your iCloud Drive is from your computer (not your handheld device). Open Finder and browse to your iCloud Drive. From here, you can browse and sort your drive to find and delete unwanted files.
How to clean up space on Google Drive (and Gmail)
You can perform these clean up tips from either your smartphone or your desktop; we are providing the step-by-step instructions below for your desktop in case you want to save files to your hard drive before deleting.
Cleaning up large files on Google Drive
- Log into your Google Drive account from a computer.
- Click on the Storage menu on the left hand side.
- You should have a list of large files sorted from largest to smallest. If not, click Storage Used to resort them.
- Now, you can delete any big files stored in your Google Drive. If you want to save the file before deleting, right click/secondary click on the file and choose Download.
- When you’re finished, go to Trash > Empty Trash > Delete Forever.
Cleaning up large files in Gmail
Emails and attachments in your Gmail are also calculated in your total storage allotment for Google Drive, so you’ll want to check to see if you have some long-forgotten emails that could be taking up a ton of space.
- Log into your Gmail account on your computer.
- Click the Show search options button on the right hand side of the Search bar.
- In the dropdown menu under Size, choose greater than 10MB. You will receive search results that show your largest emails (likely with large attachments).
- Delete the emails you don’t need any longer, or open the emails to save the attachments before deleting.
- Click Trash in the left hand menu. If Trash is not visible, click More > Trash, then click Empty Trash Now.
- While you’re logged into Gmail, click on your Spam folder, then click Delete all spam messages now.
Posted on March 7, 2023
Going Boldly Forward to End Violence with Futures Without Violence
Note from the CREDO team: This March, Futures Without Violence is among three amazing groups that will receive a share of our monthly grant. Funding from the CREDO community will power FUTURES to collaborate and implement innovative solutions with community-based partners and meet the high demand for resources, materials, and programs to support survivors, their families, and broader communities.
Read this important blog post from the group’s founder and president Esta Soler, then click here to visit CREDODonations.com to cast your vote to help determine how we distribute our monthly grant to this organization and our other amazing grantees this March.
At Futures Without Violence, we are being called to step boldly into this moment.
It’s a time when places like Buffalo, Half Moon Bay, and Uvalde have become household words. When more than 1 out of every 3 children will grow up in homes exposed to domestic violence. And when a pandemic has left many of us facing serious health and economic struggles.
We believe we don’t have to live like this – and that everyone can play a part to prevent and respond to violence. How?
FUTURES has always put those who are most in harm’s way at the center of our work, whether it’s a woman facing violence, a child in crisis, a school devastated by gun violence, or a community – and country – facing deep division.
Our Love Letter to Survivors is one tool in our work with individuals. It reminds people living with violence or abuse now, and those who survived it, that they are worthy of love, of joy, of thriving – that they are strong and resilient, and that tomorrow is within reach. It sends the message that hope and change are possible and is a call to action for anyone who wants to help.
We also support the organizations that step in, instead of stepping away, when times are tough. From a nationwide network of community organizations confronting hate crimes in their communities, to a collective of California nonprofits pioneering new ways to prevent and end early childhood adversity, we identify resources and create ways for local innovators to share ideas and wisdom so that, collectively, they become stronger, surer, and even more effective.
Last year, we:
- Pioneered groundbreaking research that showed for the first time that 8 in 10 teens who experience dating violence also report financial abuse
- Unlocked with partners more than $2 billion in public funds for programs that prevent violence, provide economic supports, and help survivors heal in the U.S. and internationally
- Equipped thousands of first responders across healthcare, education, legal systems and more, to reach survivors with lifesaving support
- Launched with partners a first of its kind national network of mental health responders embedded in the activities young people love – like sports, video games and mentoring
- Continued our track record of financial excellence, receiving the highest possible marks from charity watchdog groups like Charity Navigator – 4 out of 4 stars for over a decade and counting (fewer than 5% of charities share that distinction).
There’s a fundamental truth that drives all our work: We’re all connected. We’re in this together. None of us can be strong and safe when any of us face poverty, toxic stress, discrimination, violence or hate.
For more than 40 years, FUTURES has been a powerful force for healing, compassion, equity and unity. We bring people, families, and communities together. We lift people up when others tear them down. We inspire people and help them find courage, show empathy, offer support, and counter abuse, discrimination and oppression.
We make progress, even in these tough times. And we will continue working to heal and strengthen families and communities.
We invite each one of you to be a part of our journey and change the world with us. For more information, you can find us at www.futureswithoutviolence.org.
Posted on March 3, 2023
Pesticides & Climate Change: A Vicious Cycle
Note from the CREDO team: This March, Pesticide Action Network is among three amazing groups that will receive a share of our monthly grant. Funding from the CREDO community will help PAN challenge the global proliferation of pesticides, defend basic rights to health and environmental quality, and champion agroecology — a transformative farming system rooted in social justice and biodiversity.
Read this important blog post from Pesticide Action Network, then click here to visit CREDODonations.com to cast your vote to help determine how we distribute our monthly grant to this organization and our other amazing grantees this March.
Climate change will have sweeping impacts on agriculture, some of which we’re seeing in real-time with unpredictable precipitation patterns and increases in the severity of extreme weather events. But how do pesticides specifically intersect with climate change? A new report by PAN Organizing Co-Director Asha Sharma, Senior Scientist Margaret Reeves, and Policy Fellow Calista Washburn explores this question.
The bottom line is pesticides contribute significantly to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while, at the same time, climate change is expected to increase pesticide applications. It’s a vicious cycle.
Pesticides drive climate change
Very few studies calculate the GHG emissions of pesticide use over the full life-cycle (production, storage, shipment, application, breakdown) of the chemicals, which likely causes underestimates of true impact. In terms of production, 99% of all synthetic chemicals – including pesticides – are derived from fossil fuels. But they receive much less attention than nitrogen fertilizer, another key agricultural chemical input that creates dangerous levels of GHG emissions. Research has shown that the manufacture of one kilogram of pesticide requires, on average, about 10 times more energy than one kilogram of nitrogen fertilizer!
Pesticides can also release GHG emissions after their application, with fumigant pesticides shown to significantly increase nitrous oxide production in soils. Many pesticides lead to the production of ground-level ozone, a greenhouse gas harmful to both humans and plants.
Climate change & pesticide use
At the same time pesticide use is driving climate change, research shows the effects of our changing climate will likely lead to increased use of synthetic pesticides. Here’s why:
- Rising temperatures, heat stress and altered rain patterns are leading to decreased crop resilience. For example, drought conditions weaken plants’ natural defenses and change their biology, leaving them more vulnerable to pests.
- Rising temperatures will likely stimulate insect population growth in certain regions. Scientists also expect to see continued shifts in insects’ geographic regions and potential to survive winter.
- Because they have more diversity in their gene pool and a greater ability to acclimate, weeds are more resilient to climate change than cultivated crops. Research suggests weeds will have an increased ability to outcompete agricultural crops in many regions, leading to declining yields.
- Climate change speeds up pesticide degradation, meaning pesticides will be effective for less time, leading farmers to increase their pesticide application rates.
An environmental justice issue
Scientists caution that climate change will increase the movement of pesticides away from their intended targets, further polluting our environment and endangering public health. Increased temperatures are expected to result in more pesticide volatilization – when pesticides transform into a gas – meaning more pesticides in our air. Severe rain events are also expected to increase pesticide loss to our waterways.
In the US, people living in communities most exposed to pesticides – agricultural workers, rural communities, and residents living where pesticides are produced and wastes are dumped – are disproportionately low-income and people of color. The predicted increase in pesticide use will also compound other climate change effects that impact these communities, such as extreme heat and wildfire smoke.
This is both a climate crisis and a racial injustice.
Despite these findings, the reduction of synthetic pesticide use has been omitted from climate change solutions. Instead, synthetic pesticide use has been presented as a climate change mitigation strategy by industrial agriculture interests.
The real solution addresses all sides of this vicious cycle: agroecology. The adoption of alternative agricultural systems minimizes or eliminates synthetic fertilizer and pesticide use while increasing the resilience of our farming systems to better withstand climate change impacts.
Governments can start by adopting measurable goals to reduce synthetic pesticide use in climate policies. Laws and regulations should be written to uphold and promote the rights of groups most impacted by synthetic pesticide use. And finally, policies should be developed that provide improved technical assistance and incentives for farmers to adopt farming practices that protect community and ecosystem health.
And, while we work toward future policy and practice change, we can collectively support the advocacy work of organizations and impacted communities fighting for climate justice now.
Posted on March 3, 2023
Our February grantees thank you for your support
Each month, CREDO members vote on how we distribute funding to three incredible nonprofits. Those small actions add up – with one click, you can help fund groups supporting independent journalism, climate justice, and the fight against violent right-wing extremism. In February, CREDO members voted to distribute our monthly donation among Democracy Now!, Evergreen Action and Life After Hate.
These donations are made possible by CREDO customers and the revenue they generate by using our services. The distribution depends entirely on the votes of CREDO members like you. And for that, our February grant recipients thank you.
“None of our work would be possible without you and our global audience of listeners and viewers. Thank you so much for supporting our independent journalism.” – Amy Goodman, Host and Executive Producer, Democracy Now!
To learn more, visit www.democracynow.org.
“With your donation, we are able to push the ball forward on bold climate action that protects people & the planet. Support from CREDO members like you helps ensure we have the best chance at a more livable & equitable future. Thank you.” – Jamal Raad, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Evergreen Action
To learn more, visit www.evergreenaction.com.
Life After Hate
“Thank you for your commitment to and support of Life After Hate and its mission. Because of you, we have been able to help individuals leave the violent far-right. More importantly, together we have demonstrated that second chances are possible.” – Patrick R. Riccards, CEO, Life After Hate, Inc.
To learn more, visit www.lifeafterhate.org.
Now check out the three groups we are funding in March, and cast your vote to help distribute our donations.
CREDO members who use our products are the reason why we are able to make these donations each month. Learn more about CREDO Mobile, the carrier with a conscience.
Posted on March 1, 2023
How to scan your important tax documents right from your phone
Tax Day is right around the corner, and if you haven’t filed yet, it’s time to quickly get all your documents in order.
The best way to save, store or upload your tax documents, especially if you have paper copies, is by digitizing them.
You don’t have a scanner? Not a problem! You can easily scan all your documents right from your smartphone. Here’s how.
Scanning tax documents from your iPhone or iPad
There are a few ways to digitize your tax documents from an iPhone or iPad. The simplest way is to simply open your camera app and take photos of each document. Make sure you place your documents on a well-lit, flat surface and snap a picture of each one. This method will be a bit time consuming, since the files will be stored as images (not PDFs) and you will need to manually crop and organize each one.
However, our preferred method is using the Files app, which will automatically recognize, scan and crop your documents and help you organize them for easy sharing at a later date. Here’s how to get started:
- Open the Files app on your iPhone or iPad
- Tap the Browse tab (likely in the bottom corner)
- Tap the three dots in the top right corner and choose Scan Documents
- Position your document on a well-lit flat surface and hover your phone’s camera over the document. The app should automatically recognize and scan it. The file will be placed in your scanned documents
- Continue scanning documents until you are done. Click Save.
- Choose the folder you would like to save your documents in, or click the three dots at the top of your screen to create a new folder. Click Save to save your documents.
Scanning tax documents from your Android device
Scanning documents on Android devices can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some models have a built-in scanning function in the Camera app, while others do not. However, you will likely use Google Drive on your Android to store your documents, photos and other important information, so here’s how to use Google Drive to scan your tax documents, which should work across all Android models.
- Open the Google Drive app. (If you don’t have Google Drive installed on your device, download and install it from Google Play here.)
- Tap the “+” button, then tap Scan.
- Position your document on a well-lit flat surface and hover your phone’s camera over the document, then tap the shutter button. You can now edit, crop or rotate the image.
- To add more documents, tap the + button.
- When you’re finished scanning, click Save. Now give your document a name and organize your files in Google Drive.
Posted on February 16, 2023
Four great groups to follow this Black History Month
For nearly 40 years, CREDO has donated more than $25 million to incredible organizations fighting for civil rights, equality and voting rights.
This Black History Month, we wanted to highlight a few groups that our members have helped to fund who are working to protect the fundamental right to vote, centering the role of Black women in our communities, fighting for racial justice and so much more.
Please take a minute to read more about these incredible groups and then give them a follow to support their work!
Fair Fight Action
Founded by Stacey Abrams, Fair Fight Action is a national voting rights organization that brings high-impact, politically sophisticated strategies to the fight for free and fair elections. They advocate, organize, and litigate to protect the freedom to vote for all eligible American voters.
Since 2019, CREDO members have helped us donate $84,235 so far to help Fair Fight Action lead the charge to protect voting rights. If you would like to get involved, please sign up to volunteer, and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
She The People
She the People builds power for women of color to lead America to a new political era. The organization’s vision is of an America governed by love, justice, and belonging, led by the leadership of women of color.
Funding from CREDO members has supported She the People’s efforts to elevate women of color as a core voting bloc and leaders of a new progressive political and cultural era.
Take a minute to read their analysis on how Black women played a pivotal role in the 2022 midterm elections, and follow the organization on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Zinn Education Project
The Zinn Education Project introduces students to a more accurate, complex, and engaging understanding of history than is found in traditional textbooks and curricula. They help equip students with analytical tools to make sense of and improve the world today.
Since 2015, CREDO and our members have donated $110,837 to help the organization double the number of Teaching for Black Lives teacher-led study groups; expand its Climate Justice and Reconstruction education campaigns; and defend the right to teach honestly in the face of anti-history education laws.
If you or someone you know is a teacher, please check out their materials on teaching the People’s History and follow the organization on social media: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Legal Defense Fund
The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is America’s premier legal organization fighting for racial justice. Using the power of law, narrative, research, and people, we defend and advance the full dignity and citizenship of Black people in America.
Since 1997, our incredible members have helped us donate $274,532 to help LDF’s efforts to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice.
Take a minute to read their recent piece on a framework for effective, equitable and humane public safety structures and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Posted on February 14, 2023
Thanks to the continued support of CREDO members, Brady is working to keep our communities safe from gun violence
For more than 40 years, our long-time grantee partners at Brady: United Against Gun Violence have united gun owners and non-gun owners alike in the fight against gun violence and worked to ensure that every community is safer.
In July 2022, CREDO members voted to distribute donations to help Brady bolster its on-the-ground programs in areas most impacted by gun violence, hold the gun industry accountable in court, promote safe gun storage, and more. Since 1994, CREDO and our members have donated over $1 million to the organization.
Powered in part by the generosity of CREDO and our members, Brady had some recent victories and launched some great new initiatives. Here’s a quick rundown from the organization:
The Brady Center
The Brady Center seeks to end the public health epidemic of gun violence. To achieve this life-saving goal, our work must address the root causes of the different types of violence fueling gun deaths and injuries in America. As with any epidemic, there are many approaches to eradicating gun violence. The best courses of action differ for each form of gun violence and community impacted. Focused on taking action, not sides, Brady is blazing the trail for an evidence-based, public health approach to preventing gun violence in America.
Our core programs—including End Family Fire, Brady Legal, and our supply-side programming —rely on innovative and proven strategies that don’t require legislative action. Over the past year, thanks to the generous support of partners like Credo, we have continued to expand and strengthen these life-saving efforts. The following paragraphs detail recent organizational achievements and updates since Credo’s investment in our gun violence prevention mission.
End Family Fire (EFF)
End Family Fire is a national public service advertising campaign from Brady and the Ad Council that debuted in August 2018. EFF recognizes that gun owners are an essential part of the gun violence prevention movement—and can prevent tragedies through safe gun storage. EFF initially focused on preventing unintentional shootings. In late 2020, we expanded the campaign to focus on another type of gun violence that is often not talked about: gun suicide. In the U.S., we lose 63 people a day to gun suicide—more than those who are lost to firearm murders and unintentional shootings combined.
In 2022, Brady launched a statewide EFF suicide prevention campaign in partnership with the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH). The launch includes a geo-targeted multimedia PSA campaign, focused on promoting safe storage to prevent gun suicide, that will run for 2 years. This involved the development of localized EFF creative assets for distribution via television, radio, print, out-of-home, and digital display, along with a social media campaign targeting gun owners in Missouri. Through survey data comparing pre-and-post campaign, we’ve found that by September 2022 there were statistically significant increases among Missourian respondents in recognition of End Family Fire suicide prevention PSAs (40% baseline to 48% in Q3 2022) and the percent of those who report talking to friends and family about safe gun storage in the past six months (26% baseline to 35% in Q3 2022). These early results are promising reflections of the individual behavior change model and will continue to be monitored in the coming months.
Our collaboration with MFH underscores the growth and impact of EFF since its 2018 debut and exemplifies our vision for the program’s growth. We seek to replicate this geo-targeted work in other strategically-chosen cities/states/regions, such as those with high rates of gun ownership and/or incidents of family fire. We believe that concentrating EFF messaging—both related to unintentional shootings and gun suicide—in these higher-risk areas will maximize the campaign’s life-saving impact on gun owner attitude, awareness, and behavior.
Brady Legal brings together a strong network of talent to provide pro bono representation to victims of gun violence and counter the gun industry’s well-financed influence and special protections. Our team has secured landmark precedents that hold gun companies and dealers accountable for the deaths and injuries they enable. To date, the program has won over $60 million in settlements and verdicts for gun violence victims and successfully pushed many gun dealers and manufacturers to adopt more responsible, safer business practices. Find more details below one of Brady’s new legal cases.
As part of its work, Brady Legal helps cities in the grips of gun violence hold manufacturers of “ghost guns” accountable. Ghost guns are untraceable guns made without serial numbers that are typically assembled with parts and kits that can be purchased online, without a background check. Credo’s support allowed us to fight, and win, against a motion to dismiss the case in December 2022. In the case, the City of Baltimore, represented by Brady Legal and Sanford Heisler Sharp, LLP, is suing Polymer80, Inc. — the largest “ghost gun” manufacturer in the U.S. — for fueling gun violence in Baltimore. Polymer80 accounts for 91% of all ghost guns recovered by police in Baltimore from January 2020 to April 2022. Prior to 2018, the Baltimore Police Department (BPD) had never recovered a ghost gun.
Government Transparency for Gun Violence Prevention (GTGVP)
Brady stands out in the gun violence prevention (GVP) field in part because of our ‘supply-side’ approach to reduce gun crime. Instead of solely focusing on the shooter, Brady believes that we must also address the source or supplier of guns used in crime – namely, the gun industry and dealers who are contributing to and profiting from gun violence. Transparency is key to a successful supply-side approach, allowing us to identify and reform the gun businesses responsible for supplying crime guns; hold agencies accountable for failures in firearms industry regulation and enforcement; and expose how the powerful gun lobby influences decisions and policies at all levels of government.
Brady’s Government Transparency for Gun Violence Prevention (GTGVP) initiative was created to further these goals. Our transparency work is core to Brady’s mission, influencing and forwarding many of Brady’s other programs in addition to its important external impact on public awareness. Through public records requests and litigation, GTGVP gathers information and data on the firearms industry and government oversight; uses such data to inform our priorities and programs; and releases it to the public through published reports, data dashboards, and reputable news outlets.
New Project Launch: Firearms Procurement Project
Brady relies on our data from government transparency requests to inform our procurement work with state government and law enforcement agencies. Increasing industry transparency and identifying at-risk dealers is necessary to inform public officials which vendors are complying with the law and engaging in safe business practices. Starting in January 2023, we launched a responsible firearms procurement project, advocating for law enforcement agencies to buy from only law-abiding and otherwise responsible gun vendors. Taxpayers are the number one buyer of firearms in America. Altogether, taxpayers spend more than $5 billion a year to buy guns and ammunition for our nation’s law enforcement agencies. Our most recent analysis shows that California law enforcement agencies spent tens of millions of taxpayer dollars on gun dealers that have been cited for serious violations of the law.
If you’d like to learn more or get involved with Win Without War, please visit their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Posted on February 14, 2023
Free Press is fighting for digital civil rights and holding Big Tech accountable, thanks to CREDO members
Our amazing grantee partners at Free Press advocate for equitable and just media policy and work to clean up disinformation around our elections, disrupt organized hate online, fight for affordable internet access, secure Net Neutrality and revive local journalism.
In July 2022, CREDO members voted to donate $25,292 to help Free Press fight for digital civil rights and hold Big Media and Big Tech accountable for amplifying hate and disinformation. Since 2005, CREDO and our members have donated $420,618 to the organization.
Powered in part by the generosity of CREDO and our members, Free Press had some recent victories and launched some great new initiatives. Here’s a quick rundown from the organization:
CLOSING THE DIGITAL DIVIDE. First, a bit of a backstory: In 2021, Free Press Action advocacy paved the way for historic broadband provisions in the infrastructure package that President Biden signed into law. This investment in closing the digital divide included nearly $65 billion for broadband. A remarkable $14.2 billion of that total was dedicated to the creation of the FCC’s Affordable Connectivity Program. The program, which launched this past year, provides households living near the poverty line or enrolled in other federal-aid programs with up to $30 per month for the internet package of their choosing from participating providers — and $75 per month for people living on Tribal lands.
Since our CREDO grant, Free Press helped shape this program while working closely with the FCC — and the agency’s final order reflects many of our recommendations (no small feat given the agency’s even split between Democratic and Republican commissioners). These include rules protecting against the predatory practice of “upselling” and using unfair credit-checking practices to deny service. As of January 2023, 16 million households have signed up to take part in this program, making internet service more affordable and accessible to struggling families.
PRISON PHONE JUSTICE FOR FAMILIES OF INCARCERATED PEOPLE. We celebrated in December 2022 when the Martha Wright-Reed Just and Reasonable Communications Act passed; alongside partners like Color Of Change, Worth Rises, and the United Church of Christ’s Media Justice Ministry, Free Press Action advocated for the bill which will allow the FCC to regulate exorbitant prison phone rates. We appreciate CREDO’s ongoing support, which has given us the capacity to educate lawmakers about this bill over the past several years. We applauded another win in December, when the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act passed, an antitrust bill that raises the fees for companies and adds new disclosure requirements.
LANDMARK PRIVACY AND CIVIL RIGHTS BILL. In 2022 Free Press Action played a strong role in shaping the American Data Privacy and Protection Act (ADPPA), the strongest-ever comprehensive privacy bill to advance in Congress. The bill borrowed from model legislation we developed with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. While ADPPA was not enacted in 2022, it was voted out of committee in the House by a nearly unanimous bipartisan vote, setting the stage for advocacy and passage in the new Congress.
To help move the bill forward, Free Press Action was invited to speak to lawmakers about the need to address privacy alongside the growing disinformation crisis that is destabilizing our democracy. Senior Counsel and Director of Digital and Civil Rights Nora Benavidez participated in a congressional roundtable on the impact of mis- and disinformation on U.S. elections. “We must rein in abusive practices by social-media companies,” Benavidez said. “Their business models threaten to destabilize our democracy by amplifying lies and calls for violence, reaching audiences with a speed, precision and scale once unimaginable.”
STOPPED A MASSIVE GIVEAWAY TO MEDIA GIANTS. We’re seeing growing numbers of federal lawmakers introduce legislation like the JCPA in response to the local-news crisis. As these proposals emerge, policy analysis and advocacy in the public interest are needed, because, as analysis from Co-CEO Craig Aaron and Research Director S. Derek Turner shows, some federal proposals would benefit existing media giants — the very same companies that have gutted local newsrooms, spread disinformation and profited from runaway media consolidation. Thanks to our CREDO grant, Free Press Action led public-interest opposition to the so-called Journalism Competition and Preservation Act (JCPA) — an industry-written bill that would have given billions to incumbent media conglomerates like Fox, Sinclair and the hedge-fund vultures at Alden Global Capital — most recently preventing it from being snuck into a major defense-spending package.
STOP TOXIC TWITTER. We saw hate speech and disinformation campaigns intensify online ahead of the 2022 midterm elections, and tech companies were falling short of taking the steps needed to protect democracy. Before taking over Twitter, Elon Musk vowed that the platform wouldn’t become a “free-for-all hellscape.” But a series of destructive decisions Musk made in the run-up and aftermath of the 2022 elections shows how much of a threat to democracy billionaire-controlled platforms pose.
Musk fired thousands of people, including mass layoffs of content moderators and the entire human-rights team. He reinstated Donald Trump and scores of white supremacists. He also ditched long-standing content-moderation rules and reversed Twitter’s ban on COVID-19 misinformation, while ushering in thousands of fake and fraudulent accounts under his new Twitter Blue subscription service. In a disturbing precedent, Musk temporarily banned several tech journalists who had been watchdogging him.
When Elon Musk took the helm of Twitter in October 2022, Free Press partnered with Accountable Tech, Color Of Change, Media Matters for America and other allies to stand up an advertiser boycott campaign that resulted in over 50 percent of the top 100 advertisers leaving Twitter. Co-CEO Jessica González and close allies also met directly with Musk, extracting an essential promise from the billionaire not to reinstate banned accounts before the midterm elections. The longer-term impacts of our Stop Toxic Twitter campaign are still being felt at the company, which as of January 2023 has seen a daily revenue drop of 40% compared to a year ago, and the continued departure of 500 top advertisers.
If you’d like to learn more or get involved with Free Press Action, please visit their website, or follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.