Internet and social media companies are the public squares of the modern day. They have allowed people to communicate, politically organise, expose corruption and wrongdoing, and build new communities on a scale never seen before.
But our online public squares are at risk.
Social media companies are censoring views and deleting accounts haphazardly, often in response to political tides rather than rule breaches, effectively playing judge and jury with our rights.
Meanwhile, the Government is planning to introduce new regulations for social media companies that will force them to monitor and censor social networks more than ever. And there are already two Bills in parliament, introduced by Labour MPs with a worrying amount of cross-party support, that threaten to do just that.
Let’s stand up for the right to free speech online.
WHAT WE WANT
Three ways you can protect #FreeSpeechOnline:
1. Post/tweet your support for #FreeSpeechOnline
2. Send your MP our briefings
3. Support our campaign by setting up a monthly donation to Big Brother Watch
Also: we’re collecting evidence on social media censorship. If you, or someone/a group you know, have been affected by unfair platform rules, bans or deletions, please tell us about it (+ include screenshots/links where possible). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG BROTHER WATCH’S RESEARCH AND POLICY BRIEFINGS:
You can read our parliamentary briefings on regulating internet platforms in 2018 and beyond here:
Upcoming dates in Parliament:
- Friday 25th January ’19: The Online Forums Bill and Social Media Service Providers (Civil Liability) Bill Second Readings in the House of Commons.
The public execution of Infowars is dangerous and counterproductive – Silkie Carlo, Guardian
Government *is* planning to make social media companies liable for content; force take-down of hate speech within hours; force ID/age checks; and even enforce new regulations on ‘non-illegal’ speech – aka, speech. We will fight those plans. (See Buzzfeed article)
Facebook has purged 800 pages/accounts – and Twitter has followed in what appears to be co-ordinated action. Accounts included activists, police watchdogs and anti-establishment pages such as “Police the Police”. Their reason? Not content, but “inauthentic activity”. (See Washington Post article)