An influential member of Meta’s Oversight Board, a group nicknamed the “Supreme Court of Facebook,” Pamela San Martín, has argued that the level of censorship enacted by Meta during the 2020 presidential election was inadequate and that it should be stepped up for 2024.
This viewpoint was criticized by individuals in favor of freedom of expression, who cited a poll conducted by the Media Research Center suggesting that the influence of Big Tech censorship significantly affected the outcome of the election.
In a conversation with WIRED, San Martín argued vociferously in favor of more stringent censorship measures ahead of future elections, including the 2024 one.
San Martín’s ideas for 2024 include “adding labels to posts that are related to elections, directing people to reliable information, prohibiting paid advertisement when it calls into question the legitimacy of elections, and implementing WhatsApp forward limits.”
“No election is exactly the same as the previous one,” San Martín said to the outlet. “So even though we’re addressing the problems that arose in prior elections as a starting point, it is not enough.”
Her proposal centers on pre-emptive actions, which some observers see as a threat to freedom of speech online.
Anti-censorship critics drew attention to San Martín’s suggestion of coordination with election officials, interpreting it as a direct call for collusion between tech giants and government authorities in matters of censorship. They argued that each election is a unique event and that relying on strategies from previous campaigns was insufficient – a sentiment San Martín herself echoed.
San Martín referenced the 2020 and 2022 US and Brazilian elections, criticizing Meta for failing to adequately prevent its platforms from being manipulated for campaigning and disinformation.
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