Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama are holding conferences to encourage more censorship online.
Axios reported that the conferences will be “highlighting rising threats from authoritarianism and disinformation — and how to combat them globally and at home.”
The George W. Bush Institute will host "The Struggle for Freedom" conference on Nov. 16 in Dallas. The conference supposedly aims to nourish democracy across the globe.
The third panel at the conference is titled “Emerging Technology and the Future of Freedom.”
While Bush’s conference subtly hints at tackling so-called “disinformation,” Obama’s conference specifically ties the battle against so-called "disinformation" with "protecting democracy."
The Obama Foundation panel lists Glitch CEO Anil Dash as a key speaker. Glitch calls itself “the friendly place where everyone builds the web.”
The second panel is called “Lightning Talk: Dismantling Hate in the Digital Age” and features Vidhya Ramalingam, the CEO of Moonshot, which seeks to end “threats” and “malicious actors” online, according to its website:
“Moonshot is a tech-driven solutions provider harnessing the power of the internet for good. We develop new tech and methodologies to expose threats, disrupt malicious actors and protect vulnerable audiences online. We keep the people behind the data in mind, always.”
Both presidents have called for greater online content moderation in the past.
Last year, Bush said that online “misinformation” is “troubling.”
"What's really troubling is how much misinformation there is and the capacity of people to spread all kinds of untruth," he said on NBC's Today show. "I don't know what we're going to do about that. I know what I'm going to do about it — I'm not on Twitter, Facebook, any of that stuff."
Obama has been more outspoken on the subject and supports using moderators to remove certain content. Earlier in the year, he told attendees at a Stanford University conference that online “disinformation” is a threat to democracy.
“Solving the disinformation problem won’t cure all that ails our democracies or tears at the fabric of our world, but it can help tamp down divisions and let us rebuild the trust and solidarity needed to make our democracy stronger,” Obama said.
Unbelievably, Obama said that he was “pretty close” to being a “First Amendment absolutist.”
“I’m pretty close to a First Amendment absolutist,” Obama said, according to CNBC. “The First Amendment is a check on the power of the state. It doesn’t apply to private companies like Facebook or Twitter, any more than it applies to editorial decisions made by the New York Times or Fox News. Never has. Social media companies already make choices about what is or is not allowed on their platforms and how that content appears. Both explicitly through content moderation and implicitly through algorithms. The problem is we often don’t know what principles govern those decisions.”
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