Facebook ‘Supreme Court’ Member Warns that Regulation Could Stifle Free Speech Online
Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the co-chair of Facebook’s “Supreme Court,” has warned that an aggressive approach to regulating the company could infringe upon freedom of speech. Her comments stand in stark contrast to the company’s purge of conservatives and plan to blacklist legal comment that might cause “regulatory impacts.”
CNBC reports that in a recent interview the co-chair of Facebook’s Oversight Board, Helle Thorning-Schmidt, warned that regulation of Facebook could infringe upon freedom of speech. Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box Europe, Thorning-Schmidt stated: “If regulation gets too heavy, it actually will impact freedom of speech very heavily. I believe in regulation, I believe that politics has to play a role.”
Thorning-Schmidt added: “I also think we have to be a little bit careful than just demanding regulation, because at some point it will just tip over and be a regulation on our freedom of speech, and I don’t think any of us want that.”
Thorning-Schmidt compared the regulation of Facebook to the recent shutdown of the internet that occurred last month in Belarus following the country’s election results in which President Alexander Lukashenko declared yet another landslide victory. The election has been condemned by world leaders as illegitimate and the European Union has threatened sanctions on Belarusian officials for violence, repression, and election fraud.
Thorning-Schmidt was the prime minister of Denmark before she joined the Oversight Board and was the first woman to hold the post. The board was announced by Facebook in November 2018 and will supposedly have the power to overrule Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether to delete controversial posts. However, the board is not yet operational and in July stated that it would not be until late fall.
Other board members include Alan Rusbridger, former editor-in-chief of the Guardian, and Andras Sajo, a former judge and VP of the European Court of Human Rights.
“I do think it’s obvious to most people that we can’t carry on in a world where it’s basically Facebook and ultimately Mark Zuckerberg who takes decisions on what content gets removed or stays up,” said Thorning-Schmidt.
“It might not be ideal and it might be a small step, but it is a step in the right direction to finally have an independent board, an oversight board, that can take these decisions.”
Zuckerberg and Facebook wield that exact level of power today. The platform refuses to allow pages in support of Kyle Rittenhouse, declaring his actions “mass murder” before he ever stepped into court to defend himself. On the other hand, the company was happy to host pages dedicated to terrorists and convicted murderers ranging from Charles Manson to Assata Shakur. These pages were only taken down when Breitbart News pointed out the hypocrisy.
Read more at CNBC here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address firstname.lastname@example.org