An initiative in the nation of Poland may impose stiff penalties upon social media companies if they are found to remove content or accounts or otherwise censor content that does not break Polish law.
The initiative was announced in late December, according to The First News. If the bill passes into law, Poland could fine social media companies roughly two million dollars for undue censorship.
The bill, says Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro is intended to “give internet users the feeling that their rights are protected and that their posts cannot be arbitrarily removed from online platforms,” The First News reports.
In the event of the removal of content or suspension of an account, a complaint can be sent to the social media platform, which will have 24 hours to consider it. Within 48 hours of the platform’s decision, the user may file a petition to the court for the return of access. The court will then consider complaints within seven days of receipts.
“Often, the victims of ideological censorship tendencies 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,” said Ziobro.
“We realise that it is not an easy topic, we realise 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,” the minister continued. “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.”
This is huge, folks! If social media companies are to function as a modern-day “public square,” they should be held to a standard of political neutrality. America would do well to follow Poland—and soon, before every counter-cultural voice is silenced from social media.
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