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Online Bill to stifle freedom of speech

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by SirGalahad, 18 May 2021.

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  1. SirGalahad

    SirGalahad

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    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/2...le-name-change-wont-fix-myriad-problems.shtml

    1. If you see the bill being presented as being about "social media" "tech giants" "big tech" etc, that's bullshit. It impacts *all services of all sizes, based in the UK or not. Even yours.* Bonus: take a drink every time a journo or MP says the law is about reining in Facebook.
    2. If you see the Bill being presented as being about children's safety, that's bullshit. It's about government compelling private companies to police the legal speech and behaviour of everyone who says or does anything online. Children are being exploited here as the excuse.
    3. So as you read the Bill, consider how altruistic any government initiative must be if it requires two layers of A/B tested messaging disinformation.

    The first and most immediate impact of the imposition of senior management liability will be a chilling effect on free speech. This is always a consequence of content moderation laws which are overly prescriptive and rigid, or conversely, overly vague and sweeping.

    When everything falls into a legally ambiguous middle ground, but the law says that legally ambiguous content must be dealt with, then service providers find themselves backed into a corner. What they do in response is take down vast swathes of user-generated content, the majority of which is perfectly legal and perhaps subjectively harmful, rather than run the risk of getting it wrong.

    This phenomenon, known as “collateral censorship” – with your content being the collateral – has an immediate effect on the right to freedom of expression.

    Now add the risk of management liability to the mix, and the notion that tech sector workers might face personal sanctions and criminal charges for getting it wrong, and you create an environment where collateral censorship, and the systematic takedowns of any content which might cause someone to feel subjectively offended, becomes a tool for personal as well as professional survival.

    In response to this chilling effect, anyone who is creating any kind of public-facing content whatsoever – be that a social media update, a video, or a blog post – will feel the need to self-censor their personal opinions, and their legal speech, rather than face the risk of their content being taken down by a senior manager who does not want to get arrested for violating a “duty of care”.

    No wonder they want to make protest something so difficult.
     
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