Thursday, January 6, 2022

Facebook bans Polish far-right, but legal, party

 Facebook on Wednesday took down the page of Poland's nationalist opposition Confederation party, prompting an outcry that the U.S. tech giant was muzzling free speech.

- The Chancellery of the Prime Minister deeply disagrees with the decision which has the effect of limiting the possibility of a legally operating political party in Poland operating on the Internet - the Chancellery wrote in a statement, pointing out that this violates basic civil liberties. - The differences between government positions and representatives of political parties are expressed in public debate and judged by voters in the democratic process - we read in the statement.

Facebook suspended the page because it found it was spreading misinformation on the COVID-19 pandemic and also contained hate speech, said a spokesperson for Facebook's parent company Meta.

“We believe in giving people a voice, but we also want to keep everyone using Facebook safe,” the spokesperson said in a statement. 

Facebook said the Confederation page violated the firm's community standards by spreading false claims about the protection offered by face masks, the mortality rate of coronavirus compared with the flu, and the immunity provided by vaccines. Meta said that the page also published content directly attacking people based on protected characteristics, including the national origin and sexual orientation. The party has previously called policies to verify people's vaccination status "sanitary segregation." 

Even Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki spoke about the matter. The head of government said that the website administrators' decision "strikes at the basic democratic values."

"Freedom of speech only makes sense if everyone can freely present their views, while not destroying the freedom of others. Facebook's decision to close the Confederation's profile hits the basic democratic values. There is no and will not be the consent of the Polish government" - we read in the entry of the PM.