Polish government officials have now publicly confirmed the early reports we made that they are working on legislation that would make it illegal for Big Tech giants to engage in censorship and are stepping up its development after US Big Tech platforms banned President Donald Trump.
“Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not,” Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki wrote. “There can be no consent to censorship.”
“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,” he added, indirectly comparing the censorship by social media companies to the communism era in Poland.
The ruling party, PiS, is relatively conservative and some of its members have been victims of censorship.
“Every day there is more news from the US about the mass removal of accounts criticizing the left … defending the freedom of speech is again the biggest challenge of conservatives globally,” said MEP Patryk Jaki, a member of United Poland, a political party that’s part of the ruling coalition.
The Minister for Justice, Sebastian Kaleta, blasted Facebook for de-platforming President Trump, saying the decision was politically motivated, hypocritical, and amounted to censorship. He added that the government was working on a law that would make such moves illegal in Poland. Social media companies would only be allowed to remove content if it was illegal under Poland’s constitution.
“Removing lawful content would directly violate the law, and this will have to be respected by the platforms that operate in Poland,” Kaleta said.
The law would allow users who feel they have not broken any Polish law to file a court petition forcing a given social media company to restore their account or content. The court would deliver its ruling in seven days. The whole process would be electronic.
The PM urged the EU to work on similar regulations for social media companies. Other European politicians, such as Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, have expressed their disapproval of Trump’s de-platforming.