2021-02-17 15:54:27 UTC
By Benjamin Hall
Published 39 mins ago
Social media companies that censor users or remove posts for
ideological reasons could soon face fines in Poland in a world-first
attempt to curb the power of Big Tech through legislation.
Speaking to Fox News, the architect of the law, Deputy Polish Justice
Minister Sebastian Kaleta, said social media companies have for too
long been targeting conservatives, Christianity and traditional values
by banning them and removing posts and the Polish government is saying
"We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political
purposes, it’s mostly content which praises traditional values or
praises conservatism," he said, "and it is deleted under their 'hate
speech policy' when it has no legal right to do so."
Under the new legislation, any platform that bans a user would face
fines of $13.5 million unless the content is also illegal under Polish
law. An arbitration committee would be set up to oversee disputes.
Tech companies had reached a point where they were deciding what was
legal and what was not -- but that was not their role, Kaleta says.
"Freedom of speech is not something that anonymous moderators working
for private companies should decide," he said. "Instead, that is for
the national body; duly elected officials and all industries, car,
phones, finance -- were unregulated till they grew too large -- the
same should happen with Big Tech."
He added that the removal of former U.S. President Donald Trump from
social media platforms was just another example of Big Tech overreach
and set a dangerous precedent.
"It’s very disturbing because if Big Tech sees themselves as an
organization empowered enough to ban a sitting president of the U.S.,
it sends a message to the world --that we can ban anyone, whenever we
want," he added.
Poland spent 45 years under communism, and Kaleta says that experience
has taught it the value of free speech and that when the country sees
these disturbing new trends toward censorship, the red light goes on.