Big Brother Watch Prove Online Safety Bill Will Censor Politicians’ Own Words

An experiment by the civil rights group Big Brother Watch has proved that politicians are walking into an anti-free speech trap that would censor their own comments. The government is intent on pressing ahead with the Online Safety Bill – set to be published next week – creating a new category of regulated “legal but harmful” speech which would hit the very politicians forcing through the change. They will be censored by their own legislation.

Using dummy accounts Big Brother Watch posted historic comments to Facebook which had been made Boris, Nadine Dorries and Angela Rayner, all three of which were removed for being offensive: Boris’s ‘burka letter boxes’ column quote; Nadine’s “nail your balls to the floor” tweet; and Raynor’s “shoot your terrorists and ask questions second” joke.

Despite appeals, all three posts remained removed from the platform…

The stunt by Big Brother Watch should alert MPs up to the damage this bill is set to do to free speech, something the government paid theoretical lip service to while eroding it in practice. Mark Johnson of Big Brother Watch says:

“These comments by high profile politicians are unpleasant and have been rightly criticised, including by ourselves. However, unpleasantness alone is not a legitimate basis for censorship. This experiment clearly demonstrates that such controversial yet lawful speech is destined for unprecedented censorship under the Online Safety”

“The Online Safety Bill would replace Britain’s carefully balanced right to free speech with the changing, censorious terms and conditions of foreign companies. The Prime Minister and the Culture Secretary should take stock of Facebook removing their own statements and drop powers to target so-called ‘legal but harmful’ speech from the Bill.”

Will DCMS finally wake up and smell the authoritarian coffee?

mdi-timer 11 March 2022 @ 08:28 11 Mar 2022 @ 08:28 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Facebook Censored for Censoring Russian State Propaganda

Facebook has started limiting state funded accounts, in retaliation Russia’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor said it was partially limiting access to Facebook in response to restrictions imposed on Russian media, accusing Facebook of “censorship”. No news from Twitter yet as to if President Putin is going to be banned like President Trump

mdi-timer 25 February 2022 @ 17:00 25 Feb 2022 @ 17:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Clegg Promises to Reduce Amount of Politics on Facebook

Following his successful mission from 2010-17 to remove politics from his own day-to-day life, Nick Clegg is now promising to depoliticise Facebook. US conservatives are convinced that Facebook has a liberal bias and it is invariably their content which is suppressed. Speaking on US media yesterday morning, Clegg promised that the social media site’s content will be reformed so users see “more friends, less politics” in order to “reduce the presence of politics on people’s Facebook experiences”.  Given he has little interaction with either these days, Clegg’s home feed is set to become quite barren…

mdi-timer 11 October 2021 @ 16:31 11 Oct 2021 @ 16:31 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour’s Proposed Social Media Clampdown Could see Clegg Face Criminal Sanctions

Labour is today using the racist social media abuse being targeted at England players to push their proposed social media free speech clampdown. Today shadow culture secretary Jo Stevens told Times Radio Labour wants to put an end to self-regulation and instead have the state dictate social media platforms’ content rules. Stevens also calls for “criminal sanctions for senior executives” for repeated offences “because that’s the only way we will get them to change their behaviour about how they run their companies”. A long way from the days of “I agree with Nick”…

Labour’s proposals go much further than even the government’s extreme anti-free speech Online Harms Bill proposal, which at the moment only has criminal sanction provisions for if a tech executive fails to comply with an Ofcom request for information. The social media abuse against the likes of Rashford, Sancho and Saka is unforgivable, however calls to censor the entire internet as a response are absurdly disproportionate…

mdi-timer 12 July 2021 @ 13:00 12 Jul 2021 @ 13:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Nick Clegg Lobbies to Block Paul Dacre from Ofcom Job

Paul Dacre’s quest to become Ofcom Chairman appears to have been thwarted by none other than the former Deputy Prime Minister. Nick Clegg, who now rakes it in as Facebook’s Vice‑President for Global Affairs and Communications, has reportedly spearheaded the company’s lobbying campaign alongside Google to block Dacre from being offered the job, with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden now wanting to start the selection process “afresh“. Dacre somehow managing to unite the BBC and Big Tech against a mutual threat…

It’s alleged that the panel in charge of vetting candidates turned against Dacre over fears he’d ‘rock the boat‘ with his reforming plans – particularly over the BBC’s financial management – and his criticism of Big Tech’s handling of data privacy. Looks like they’d rather just give the job to a yes-man…

mdi-timer 27 May 2021 @ 12:33 27 May 2021 @ 12:33 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Labour’s Malfunctioning Bot Asks Who You Plan to Vote for Yesterday

Once Starmer is finished his inevitable reshuffling of his front bench after the party’s appalling showing in the locals, Guido reckons he might want to take a hard look at his social media team as well. As shown above, sending a post to Labour’s Facebook page still triggers an automatic message from the party’s messenger bot, asking who you plan to vote for on May 6 – nearly 14 hours (and counting) after polls closed. It looks like Richard Burgon was right: Labour needs to stop “going backwards”…

 

mdi-timer 7 May 2021 @ 12:00 7 May 2021 @ 12:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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