by Arjun Walia, Collective Evolution:
- The Facts:The Polish Government has announced that it will be taking steps to make censorship by big tech companies like Facebook and Twitter completely illegal.
- Reflect On:Do these companies really have an interest in removing harmful content, or does their interest lie in removing information, no matter how true, that threatens their interests?
TRUTH LIVES on at https://sgtreport.tv/
What Happened: The deactivation of Donald Trump’s social media accounts has sparked both praise and outrage across the globe. One fact, however, that remains unacknowledged on such a large scale is the deactivation of thousands of social media accounts which includes many doctors, scientists, journalists and people for sharing information, evidence, science and opinions that go against the grain, so to speak.
Over the last few months, I have seen academic articles and op-eds by professors retracted or labeled “fake news” by social media platforms. Often, no explanation is provided. I am concerned about this heavy-handedness and, at times, outright censorship. – source)(
The Polish government has responded as officials have denounced the deactivation of Trump’s social media accounts and has said that a draft law is now being prepared, in Poland. This law will make it illegal for tech companies to take similar actions there and regulate what information people are able to see and access.
According to Poland’s prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, “Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not.” He said that there can be “no consent to censorship”, comparing social media companies regulation of information to Poland’s experience during the communist era. He said that “Censorship of free speech, which is the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, is now returning in the form of a new, commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently.”
Below are his words taken from a recent Facebook Post.
I was born and raised among people from whom freedom was the most valuable value. In Poland we are so attached to freedom because we know what it’s like when someone tried to limit it. For nearly 50 years we lived in a country where censorship was in force; in a country where Big Brother told us how to live, what think and feel – and what to think, say and write…That’s why we look at all attempts to restrict freedom with such anxiety.
One of the synonyms of freedom has always been the Internet for us. The most democratic medium in history, a forum where anyone can speak without embarrassment. A tool that allows every person to really influence reality, to an extent unknown several years ago. Freedom related to the lack of internet regulation has many positive effects. But they are also negative: big, transnational corporations, richer and more powerful than many countries, have gradually begun to dominate it. These corporations have only begun to treat our online activity as a source of profit and strengthening global domination. And also to ensure political correctness the way they like it. And fight those who oppose them.
Recently, we are increasingly dealing with practices that would seem to have gone on in the past. Censoring free speech, the domain of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, returns today in the form of a new commercial mechanism to combat those who think differently
The discussion is about exchanging views, not gagging your mouth. We don’t have to agree with what our opponents write, but we can’t deny anyone from spreading views that are legal.
There is no, and cannot be, consent to censorship….Freedom of speech is the salt of democracy – that’s why we must defend it. Which views are right and which are not, cannot be decided by algorithms or owners of corporate giants.
Poland will always stand guard for democratic values, including freedom of speech. Social media owners cannot operate above the law. That’s why we’ll do everything to determine how Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other similar platforms operate. In Poland, we regulate this with appropriate and national regulations. We will also propose that similar regulations apply throughout the European Union.
Social media must serve us – the public, not the interests of its powerful owners. All people have the right to freedom of speech. Poland will defend this right.
This does not mean Poland has not succumb to the corruption that plagues multiple governments, it seems these days no government is free the burdens of many unethical and immoral actions and measures they take and may impose on the population. This article however, is focusing specifically on censorship. Perhaps this is simply a PR move to “look good.” I don’t know.
It’s great to see censorship on the minds of many and with all of the controversy that has crept into the mainstream, more people are definitely aware of the problem. I would, however, like to emphasize again that it’s not just Donald Trump that’s been subjected to it, it’s thousands of doctors, scientists, journalist and media organizations, like Collective Evolution as well.
We are living in an age where there is a digital authoritarian Orwellian type of “fact-checker” patrolling the internet telling people what is and what isn’t. Should people not have the right to examine information openly and transparently and determine for themselves what is and what isn’t?
All of this censorship obviously requires a mass amount of surveillance. It’s no secret that tech companies like Facebook and Amazon, for example, have strong connections to intelligence. If you look at Facebook, Google and Amazon employees for example, there are many who have come from very high positions within the Department of Defense.
Amazon appointed Keith Alexander, director of the NSA under Barack Obama. NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden pointed out in a recent interview with journalist Glenn Greenwald,
He was one of the senior architects of the mass surveillance program that courts have repeatedly now declared to be unlawful and unconstitutional…When you have this kind of incentive from a private industry to maintain the warmest possible relationship with the people in government, who not just buy from you but also have the possibility to end your business or change the way you do business…You now see this kind of soft corruption that happens in a constant way.
In secret, these companies had all agreed to work with the U.S. Government far beyond what the law required of them, and that’s what we’re seeing with this new censorship push is really a new direction in the same dynamic. These companies are not obligated by the law to do almost any of what they’re actually doing but they’re going above and beyond, to, in many cases, to increase the depth of their relationship (with the government) and the government’s willingness to avoid trying to regulate them in the context of their desired activities, which is ultimately to dominate the conversation and information space of global society in different ways…They’re trying to make you change your behaviour…
Snowden goes on to explain how people get upset when government tries to set the boundaries of what appropriate speech is by attempting to stop big tech censorship, he then says,
If you’re not comfortable letting the government determine the boundaries of appropriate political speech, why are you begging Mark Zuckerberg to do it?
I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power.
What we see is an increasing tendency to silence journalists who say things that are in the minority.
I would argue, however, that big tech may not just be censoring “minority” opinions. When it comes to the coronavirus for example, there seems to be, in my opinion, a large majority of doctors, scientists and journalists who are presenting information, science, evidence and opinion that strongly oppose certain measures taken by governments to combat Covid, like lockdowns, for example. Yet somebody like Dr. Anthony Fauci can go on television anytime he wants and is given the gift of instant virality while other experts in the field with opposing views seem to be completely ignored.
I would argue that the mainstream can make the majority feel like the minority, and the minority feel like the majority.