Ah, Here It Is, Here Comes The EU’s Censorship Of Social Media

Censorship never does arrive with the commentary that we’d really very much rather you weren’t allowed to say that. It’s always wrapped up in the idea that the things being said are false, or damaging to society or some favoured group. It’s never “Don’t criticise the Nazi Party because we are the Nazi Party” it’s “That damages the Nation, the Volk” or even “That’s untrue so you can’t say it”.

The end result is the same of course, censorship means that we can’t say what those doing the censoring really very much would rather we didn’t. The most obvious, first and foremost, of those things they’d rather we didn’t say being criticism of those doing the censorship. Shouting “F**k!” from the London stage always did get rather fewer red lines drawn through it than the line “The Lord Chancellor’s a poopyhead”. Wartime censorship of letters was very keen indeed on excising mentions of the fact that there was wartime censorship of letters.

Which brings us to our Brave New World of social media. Now that any of us can just say what we like there’s obviously going to be a move to stop this damned impertinence and here it comes:

New laws to regulate social media are needed to protect the platforms from being “darkened” by fake news and online harms, one of the world’s most powerful regulators of tech companies has said. Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner, said regulations were being developed that were designed to make social platforms, from Facebook and Snapchat to Instagram and YouTube, fairer and more transparent. “All the bright and shiny positive elements of tech are at risk of being darkened by false news, misuse of data, no respect of the citizen, no respect of individual rights,” she said on BBC Radio Four.

You can censor absolutely anything you like inside those strictures. Respect for individual rights? In the modern world that could mean anything from commenting on IQ variations across populations to calling illegal immigrants illegal. Respect for the citizen will soon enough morph into banning disrespect of those who represent the citizen, the politicians. False news, well, the EU Commission has declared that the bendy bananas story is false news and yet it is still true, that bananas of excessive curvature may not be sold for human consumption on pain of a £5,000 fine and or 6 months in jail.

Do not, under any circumstances, think that they wouldn’t use such powers if they were granted – that’s not how power works. Whoever gains power over what we may say will use it to determine what we may say, that is how power works.

Consider this. In certain European Union countries – France comes to mind – it is illegal to insult a public servant. Yup, to call a bureaucrat a poopyhead is illegal in La Profonde. Here in Britain it isn’t, it’s not even covered by libel laws. Even if I assert that actually the bureaucrat really is, factually, a poopyhead that’s still mere vulgar abuse and while it’s impolite it’s legal.

So, we’ve those two versions of freedom of speech. Margrethe Vestager is arguing that she and hers be allowed to – with zero democratic input of course – determine the free speech laws for an entire continent. The statement “Margrethe Vestager is a poopyhead” is going to come under which version of those censorship laws? When it’s Margrethe Vestager, the poopyhead, doing the determining of what may be said?

Quite, and that’s all you need to know about the suggestion, isn’t it? Thank The Lord we’re leaving come March 29.

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Mike Knowlesitdoesntaddupdisqus_0YYizfPqVFJon 'jaixzz' Strad CaproJonathan Harston Recent comment authors
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erikbloodaxe
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erikbloodaxe

All the bright and shiny positive elements of tech are at risk of being darkened by … no respect of individual rights.
Says the unelected representative of an organisation that disrespects the views of the majority of the British electorate.

Grope_of_Big_Horn
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Grope_of_Big_Horn

we’re leaving come March 29.
I wish. We’re currently 45% likely to be leaving by that date ( online bookies odds, and they don’t ride bicycles ).

timworstall
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timworstall

Not really, no. Bookies aren’t setting odds. They’re observing the weight of money then setting odds to make sure that they get a cut either way. Thus the odds are a measure of the opinions of those making bets, not of bookies themselves.

Very useful information of course, often correct – a la Galton’s Ox – but not quite what you’re saying.

itdoesntaddup
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itdoesntaddup

I recall that the referendum itself was subject to some heavy betting from the Remain side that somewhat depressed the odds. It was definitely Schadenfreude to see massive losses by some of those punters.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-brexit-how-the-bookies-got-eu-referendum-odds-so-wrong-40-million-bet-a7100856.html

disqus_0YYizfPqVF
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grope_of_big_horn but

RickBradford
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RickBradford

“….make social platforms, from Facebook and Snapchat to Instagram and YouTube, fairer… ”

Fairer to whom, exactly? You can’t be fair to everyone and if you try, you’ll end up being fair to no-one.

And who gets to decide what is ‘fair’, anyway? Almost certainly, the very last people you would want to be given that authority.

Jonathan Harston
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Jonathan Harston

A friend of mine has the ususal suspects up in arms because he stated the factual fact that asylum seekers in Scotland were not Scottish until they had been granted asylum and they had chosen to become Scottish.

Jon 'jaixzz' Strad Capro
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Jon 'jaixzz' Strad Capro

«Tinytinkle Worstofall journalists is a poppyhead!» Ah that feels better already! “Thank The Lord” we will continue to receive impartial objectivity from the mainstream media… no wait that was *so* ‘last-century’ that I cannot remember it ! Doctor Worstofall I presume there will be equivalent censorship of ‘mainstream media’ ? Or have I already blotted my copybook with my puerile aberrations ? Sorry doc! Btw here’s my tuppence worth of censorship; if you write: “…really very much would rather we didn’t.” then some grammar-nazi will correct you with: «really would very much rather we didn’t.» But I think you knew… Read more »

itdoesntaddup
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itdoesntaddup

GDPR already acts as an internet censor. Try reading e.g. the Chicago Tribune without a VPN based outside the EU.

Mike Knowles
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Mike Knowles

I’m thankful here for the First (and Second) Amendment.
After the UK leaves the EU Leviathan you should get one of your own.