Former US President Donald Trump's removal from Twitter, while he was still a sitting president, shocked many, starting a debate both in support and in criticism of the move. How much power should Big Tech companies be given when it comes to deciding what content is objectionable. This is the question Poland government asked and is ready to take a stand on social media censorship.
Citing the example of Trump's removal from Twitter, Deputy Polish Justice Minister Sebastian Kaleta says it sets 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.
Big Tech crackdown in Poland
Poland now says enough! According to Fox News, the Polish minister is stripping social media companies of the right to judge and act on their fancies when it comes to censoring content and removing users from respective platforms.
"We see that when Big Tech decides to remove content for political purposes, it's mostly content which praises traditional values or praises conservatism and it is deleted under their 'hate speech policy' when it has no legal right to do so," Kaleta was quoted as saying.
Poland is now passing new legislation that draws a line on social media censorship. According to the report, the new legislation dictates that if any platform bans a user or removes posts for ideological reasons, hefty fines of up to $13.5 million would be imposed. However, if the content in question is illegal, there won't be any scrutiny.
"Freedom of speech is not something that anonymous moderators working for private companies should decide. 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," Kaleta said, adding that an arbitration committee would be set up to oversee such disputes.
Advancing the new legislation, Kaleta emphasized the importance of free speech, something it highly values. Especially, after having spent 45 years under communism, the experience has taught the value of free speech and the need to know when to draw a line.