Poland has a new law under consideration. It’s simple. If someone publishes something that does not violate Poland’s Laws, Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter can’t censor it or deplatform the speaker. If they do and lose, it could cost them up to 2 million dollars.
I’m not familiar with Poland’s laws or their free speech protections, but this strikes me as having a lot of potential.
In the US Section, 230 defines them as platforms, not publishers, but we know better. They use force to publish their opinions alongside or in place of yours. They may limit your access to the platform or restrict who sees your ideas based entirely on their ideological preference.
I have a problem with that last part.
If they just wanted to join the conversation, that’s one thing. Hey, you wrote this, I wrote this, let the community work it out amongst themselves. Equal distribution, and let’s have a discussion. But that is not what they do, as you well know. They not only promote their idea at the expense of yours, but they also punish you (Facebook Jail), lock you out, or delete your account.
Poland thinks that’s a problem.
“Under its provisions, social media services will not be allowed to remove content or block accounts if the content on them does not break Polish law.
“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 and the entire process is to be electronic.”
And it has teeth. “If a “special court” rules in favor of the plaintiff and the internet service does not obey the ruling, it can be fined up to roughly $2.2 million (1.8 million EUR).”
There is always plenty that can go wrong in a situation like this. You’ve got politicians and courts getting involved. But like most laws, the idea is to dissuade behavior (in this case, censorship because you can) that the people find abhorrent.
The social media companies doing business in Poland can either take a more hands-off approach or prepare for legal entanglements and financial losses. Or, they could choose not to operate there, leaving room for others to move in or expand their market share and occupy that space.
Nothing would amuse me more than for Facebook to bail on Poland because they are such tight-asses that they can’t allow people to debate issues or opinions without their heavy-handed oversight.