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Polish court orders Facebook to immediately stop censoring content in landmark ruling

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We may never find out if the Polish non-governmental organization known as SIN – dedicated to anti-drug abuse education and prevention – picked its acronym with the meaning of the word in English in mind.

Be that as it may, there’s room to speculate that the name was probably not helpful when Facebook – or whatever incarnation of its crude “algorithmic court” was in session at the time – ruled against the non-profit earlier in the year.

In other words, the social media giant decided to ban SIN’s pages and profiles from both Facebook and Facebook-owned Instagram image-sharing platform by flagging them as “harmful.”

But now an actual court in Poland’s capital Warsaw has ruled that Facebook’s measures against the group cannot stand. At least – not for the time being.

This means that the court ruling is temporary, reports the website of the Panoptykon Foundation, a Polish rights organization with a focus on anti-surveillance.

Meanwhile, the NGO targeted by Facebook censors is Spoleczna Inicjatywa Narkopolityki (that’s where the “SIN” acronym comes from in Polish – in English, the name of the group reads, the Civil Society Drug Policy Initiative).

Poland is an EU member-state and the decision of its court means that at least for now, SIN should be allowed to continue with their activities using Facebook and its platforms.

However – the Warsaw court did not dare go quite as far as ordering the already removed pages and posts to be reinstated by Facebook, pending the outcome of the proceedings.

And the outcome won’t be known before Facebook Ireland decides whether or not to appeal the decision, the report explains.

Ireland, of course, is another EU member – one that invites Big Tech like Facebook to its shores mostly with the promise of low taxes.

When SIN sued Facebook back in May, the organization argued that they were being unfairly censored and that the tech giant maligned their true purpose and credibility, by labeling it as “harmful.”

In its report, Panoptykon Foundation makes note of what is known as “private censorship” as one of the modern-day threats to freedom of speech.

“Getting blocked on platforms such as Facebook or Instagram, which have become ‘gatekeepers’ to online expression and for which, just as in the SIN’s case, there’s no viable alternative, in reality, equals to a significant limitation in disseminating information,” the website writes.

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