Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Social Media Companies Who Censor People Could Be Fined $2 Million in Poland

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In Poland, a new initiative announced last December could push social media companies to stop censoring content or blocking people’s accounts if they have not broken the law or risk a fine of about $2 million.

Media outlet Poland In reported:

“In the event of removal or blockage, a complaint can be sent to the platform, which will have 24 hours to consider it. Within 48 hours of the decision, the user will be able to file a petition to the court for the return of access. The court will consider complaints within seven days of receipt.” 

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro made a statement saying:

Often, the victims of tendencies for ideological censorship are also representatives of various groups operating in Poland, whose content is removed or blocked, just because they express views and refer to values that are unacceptable from the point of view of communities… with an ever-stronger influence on the functioning of social media.

We realize that it is not an easy topic; we realize that on the internet there should also be a sphere of guarantees for everybody who feels slandered, a sphere of limitation of various content which may carry with it a negative impact on the sphere of other people’s freedom. But we would like to propose such tools that will enable both one side and the other to call for the decision of a body that will be able to adjudicate whether content appearing on such and such a social media account really violates personal rights, whether it can be eliminated, or whether there is censorship.

According to reports from last December, Ofcom, the United Kingdom’s media regulator, would be receiving new powers to enforce new rules regarding censorship. 

TechCrunch reported:

Under the plans announced today, the government said Ofcom will be able to levy fines of up to 10% of a company’s annual global turnover (or £18 million, whichever is higher) on those that are deemed to have failed in their duty of care to protect impression eyeballs from being exposed to illegal material — such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material or suicide-promoting content.

TechCrunch went on to add:

“The online safety ‘duty of care’ rules are intended to cover not just social media giants like Facebook but a wide range of internet services — from dating apps and search engines to online marketplaces, video sharing platforms and instant messaging tools, as well as consumer cloud storage and even video games that allow relevant user interaction.”

The British government made a statement saying:

The new regulations will apply to any company in the world hosting user-generated content online accessible by people in the UK or enabling them to privately or publicly interact with others online. … These companies will need to assess the risk of legal content or activity on their services with “a reasonably foreseeable risk of causing significant physical or psychological harm to adults.” They will then need to make clear what type of “legal but harmful” content is acceptable on their platforms in their terms and conditions and enforce this transparently and consistently.

What are your thoughts on the overreaching hand of social media censorship? Let us know by joining the conversation in the comments and please share this article if you’ve found it of value.

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