In a move against Big Tech censorship of free speech, Poland is planning to make censoring of social media accounts illegal. “Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not,” said the prime minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki. “There can be no consent to censorship.”
Polish government officials said a draft law being readied in Poland will make it illegal for tech companies to censor social media accounts in Poland.
“Algorithms or the owners of corporate giants should not decide which views are right and which are not,” said the prime minister of Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki. “There can be no consent to censorship.”
Morawiecki indirectly compared social media companies taking decisions to remove accounts with Poland’s experience during the communist era.
“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 wrote.
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Sebastian Kaleta, secretary of state at Poland’s Ministry of Justice, said the draft law prepared by the justice ministry would make it illegal for social media companies to remove posts that did not break Polish law.
“Removing lawful content would directly violate the law, and this will have to be respected by the platforms that operate in Poland,” Kaleta told Rzeczpospolita newspaper.
Under the provisions of the Polish draft law, users would be able to file a court petition to force social media companies to restore removed content if they believed it did not violate Polish law. The court would rule within seven days and the process would be fully electronic.
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Katarzyna Szymielewicz, president of the NGO Panoptykon, said the proposed Polish law, on paper, was “quite in line with what civil society has been fighting for, against arbitrary censorship online”, noting that national laws are a better benchmark for what content should be allowed online than arbitrary decisions taken by tech companies.