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Rights Groups Push Back Against EU Censorship Chief Thierry Breton After He Pressured Platforms to Censor “Disinformation”

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European (EU) Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton is asked to answer some tough questions after his (latest) escapade, now seen as a new attempt to pressure tech platforms to censor content – while he was explaining that as, combating “disinformation.”

Both politicians, and tech platforms, have been hearing this for a long time, many years now, from people opposed to the obvious censorship: don’t let it “find a home” in the heart of your governments and media, or political discourse – because once it does, it may never leave.

Sure, on any given day, it might feel great to suppress information about an election, a side you don’t like in a war, etc, by just labeling it as “disinformation.”

But what happens once those causes you do support start to get affected, as well? Unfortunately, that’s all there seems to be to it, regarding Breton’s latest outrageous moves – although one would hope and wish for a more universal understanding of the importance and need of protection of free speech, full stop.

Now groups like the Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT Europe), Access Now, Article 19, and about two dozen others are expressing their extreme discomfort with Breton’s letter to X, TikTok, Google (YouTube) and Meta.

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

It has to do with the latest Middle East escalation. The groups behind the initiative are attempting to influence Breton mainly by asserting that his actions – penning a letter pressuring tech platforms demanding the censorship of “disinformation” on this particular geopolitical issue – as essentially contravening EU’s own Digital Services Act (DSA).

The long and the short of the civil society groups’ attempt here is that Breton is creating “a false equivalency” between illegal content and disinformation – as per the DSA.

To be honest – the EU is such a winding and “blinding” bureaucracy, that it’s not entirely impossible that some of its scriptwriters don’t fully understand their own plot.

Regardless, the letter the CDT now joins claims that Commissioner Breton – in his “censor-right-now” letter to big platforms – “incorrectly and confusingly invoked obligations under DSA to make several demands from these online platforms to swiftly address this content, which are not in fact required by the law.”

Obviously, nobody from these groups is ready to address the EU’s core policy – it’s all procedural.

Or – maybe they do – just a little bit?

“The Commissioners’ (Breton’s) highly politicized engagement risks pressuring online platforms to take actions in ways that are not guided by the law and may undermine human rights, which in this case disproportionately affects human rights defenders, advocates, and journalists. His actions further risk undermining the authority and independence of the Commission’s DSA Enforcement Team,” CDT’s Asha Allen is quoted.

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