Facebook is attacking the UK’s by-and-large perplexing Online “Safety” Bill draft from a surprising angle. It’s not that the bill would – like virtually all free speech supporters are saying – introduce more unaccountable online censorship. No – Facebook is trying to argue that by exempting journalists, it would essentially “not do enough.”
Namely, the bill contains the fig-leaf provision of exempting “journalists” from the coming censorship. But Facebook’s Nick Clegg had this to say about that: “What do we do about people who declare themselves to be citizen journalists? Tommy Robinson claimed to be a citizen journalist before we kicked him off Facebook.”
While not everybody may be aware of it, Clegg is a prime example of what is known as “the revolving” door of people switching careers between Big Tech and “Big Government” – the latter being the very same that’s supposed to regulate the former.
In other words, the revolving door phenomenon has high potential for inherent corruption – by any other name.
In Clegg’s case, the distinction is that he was formerly a major UK party leader and a member of the country’s government, and is now a Facebook high-ranked exec – making his “revolving door journey” trans-Atlantic.
But Clegg is apparently still keeping an eye on the old country, and how could he not, since regulators there are working fast and furious to introduce some draconian legislative changes affecting which content is allowed and which is outright criminalized on giant social platforms like Facebook.
More to Clegg’s (unspoken) point, no doubt – in some instances, the ever-more restricting measures might affect not free speech on Facebook, but Meta the company itself and its representatives in the UK, making them legally responsible.
Free speech and rights activists attack the proposed UK’s Online Safety Bill as being oppressive to the everyday internet user, formally further stifling free expression in previously unprecedented ways – such as criminalizing speech without providing a properly clear and precise definition of what the offense even is.
But Nick Clegg has a different take on the whole thing. When he spoke for the Financial Times, his criticism of the Online Safety Bill seemed to have to do with it “not doing enough” to censor just about everybody – just to keep Facebook in the clear.