The Hungarian Minister of Justice has announced that she is working on the establishment of sanctions against social networks in the event of “systematic abuse” consisting in arbitrarily limiting freedom of expression.
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga has raised the possibility of sanctioning social networks when they are guilty of “systematic abuses” of freedom of expression, the Reuters news agency reported on January 18.
The government member said she would meet with the Hungarian competition authority this week to discuss possible penalties for what she describes as unfair business practices. She should also arrange a meeting with the IT / digital freedom committee.
The government is lambasting what it sees as attempts to curb conservative views by the companies that own the social media platforms.
“The shadowban – blocking in the shadows – constitutes for social networking platforms the act, committed secretly and for political reasons, of restricting the visibility and access of a user profile without the latter being informed. “Said Judit Varga in a Facebook post. “To reduce their reach, Facebook is also limiting the visibility of Christian, conservative and right-wing views.”
The minister is followed by around 120,000 subscribers, while Viktor Orban has more than a million. The Minister frequently uses the platform to broadcast government announcements.
Judit Varga calls for dealing with the issue at the level of the European Union: “Because of systematic abuses, we may need to step up our action upstream,” she argued.
Poland is working on a bill
Poland is also seizing the subject in order to prevent social networks from censoring content, unless they violate Polish law. The Polish government is in the process of drafting a law on this subject which could take effect in January 2022.
“The law will provide tools to guarantee the fundamental freedoms of Polish citizens on the Internet,” said Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, quoted by AFP. This new device should allow the web giants to “respect Polish law”, while today, underlines the member of the Polish government, “social networks alone decide what content is censored”.
The bill also provides for the creation of a “council for freedom of expression”, which would be composed of five members. It would be responsible for examining complaints from users of social networks whose accounts have been closed or content removed.
These announcements come a few days after the definitive suspension of US President Donald Trump’s accounts from several online content-sharing platforms (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) which have declared that they want to prevent any risk of resorting to violence after the taking of assault on the Capitol on January 6.