Hungary’s government will follow in the footsteps of their Polish counterpart in their battle against Big Tech, to defend freedom of expression.
In a Facebook post, Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice in Viktor Orban’s government, detailed concepts about censorship and the official position against big technological corporations that have been responsible for thousands of attacks on the freedom of expression of users, especially conservatives.
“Shadowban”, explains Varga, means the act of social media providers who secretly, for political purposes, restrict the visibility and access of our user profile without our knowledge. Therefore, she adds, “technology companies violate all those fundamental democratic legal norms that form the basis of Western culture. We learned about the practice of the entire shadowban system only from a now-leaked voice recording of the Twitter CEO.”
To reduce its reach,” the Hungarian minister says, “Facebook also limits the visibility of Christian, conservative and right-wing views. I have personal experience about that too,” she warned.
Thus, Hungary’s Ministry of Justice will contribute to the European Union’s regulation through its Committee on Digital Freedom. Varga assures that the abuses are not isolated cases but a real policy, a “systematic abuse.” Therefore, she affirmed that Hungary will have to work faster to defend its citizens’ freedoms.
“I called for an extraordinary meeting of the Committee on Digital Freedom. This week I will also consult with the Chairman of the Hungarian Competition Authority on the possibility of sanctioning unfair trade practices.” In other words, the Orban government’s determination is not only for reasons of hostile actions against freedom of expression, but also for potentially monopolistic practices in the market.
In order to put into context the systematic attacks that the government wants to combat, Varga attached a tweet from Project Veritas in which they reveal that Twitter engineers want to disappear conservative profiles from searches and even tamp down “ways of speaking.”
In addition, Hungary’s minister provided a tweet from the director of Project Veritas, James O’Keefe, where you can see the Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, assuring that the massive censorship of these conservative profiles will be greater and will last much longer.
Hungary joins Poland in defense of online free speech
The bill that the Law and Justice party presented through its Minister of Justice, Zbigniew Ziobro, will require the creation of a Court for the Protection of Freedom of Expression so that users who make the corresponding complaints will be able to appeal to this court to carry out their cases against Big Tech companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
With this law, citizens who are banned or have their content removed must first report the problem to the platform and wait twenty-four hours before filing a complaint with the Court. Thus, Big Tech will not be able to remove content or censor profiles if they have not violated Polish law.
If the court decides in favor of the plaintiff and the Big Tech corporations do not obey this decision, they could face fines of between $10.9 million and $13.3 million.