Foreign Facebook Oversight Board Member Calls for Whole of Society Approach to Censor in US

February 6th, 2024 4:29 PM

Yet another Meta Oversight Board member has raised the alarm about so-called “bad actors” trying to undermine the electoral process — but rest assured she has the solutions to these problems: a whole of society approach to censoring speech.

Meta Oversight Board Member Helle Thorning-Schmidt, the former Denmark prime minister turned alleged election expert, talked out both sides of her mouth in an op-ed calling on Big Tech to crack down on so-called “disinformation” — a common euphemism used by the left to censor online speech with which they disagree. At the same time, she stated that companies “must tailor their policies to basic principles of transparency and freedom of expression.” She warned that if we’re “not careful,” 2024 could be the year that “fracture[s] democracy.” She also specifically called for governments to help in silencing speech, and urged Meta toward “closing the loopholes” in its censorship policies.

Much like the Biden administration’s push for a “whole of society approach,” she even had an explicit call for government and private entities to work together to censor speech. “[G]overnments, regulators, civil society and academics must work with us if we are to meet the challenge of combating election disinformation,” Thorning-Schmidt pronounced. MRC recently exposed the Biden administration’s new strategy to censor and push leftist activism into American classrooms using a dizzying network of public and private actors both foreign and domestic.

In the op-ed for the Financial Times, Thorning-Schmidt scaremongered, “the year that breaks election records may also fracture democracy.” Unfortunately, the former Prime Minister does not appear to see free speech as essential to a free democracy. Artificial intelligence (AI) has “amplified” the “risks” of supposed “disinformation” with deepfake images and other content, she claimed. 

While acknowledging the Oversight Board’s decision not to censor an edited video seemingly showing President Joe Biden inappropriately touching his granddaughter, she whined that Meta’s manipulated media policy “makes little sense.”

Since the policy does not ban all types of edited content, and focuses specifically on AI rather than a more comprehensive approach, Thorning-Schmidt demanded a stricter policy. “There are clear tensions between allowing freedom of expression and protecting people from real-world harm,” she asserted, urging the impossible task of analyzing a user’s intent.

Even while urging transparency, and suggesting some content be labeled rather than removed, Thorning-Schmidt specifically insisted on moderation (i.e., censorship) during crisis situations. “[In] crisis situations, including elections where the risk of violence is high, policies should reflect threats to physical safety and security,” Thorning-Schmidt wrote. “A clear system for moderating content in a crisis is important.” 

This sounds all too familiar, as leftists have routinely used crisis situations, like the COVID-19 pandemic and recent banking failures, as opportunities to further their agenda. As leftist Chief of Staff for former President Barack Obama once claimed, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

Thorning-Schmidt argued that governments should have to publicize their censorship requests, but did not adopt the idea that governments should not try to crush free speech at all. “Disproportionate censorship can contribute to a climate of misinformation and affect users’ rights to access information or share opinions,” she rambled. Meta will be publishing its metrics on monitoring content, including election content, in 2024 after Oversight Board pressure, she wrote.

Another Oversight Board member, Pamela San Martín, also recently claimed that Facebook’s 2020 election censorship was not sufficient. A Media Research Center poll found in November 2020 that 17 percent of then-presidential candidate Joe Biden’s voters would not have voted for him had they known the scandals censored by Big Tech and the legacy media.

MRC Free Speech America Assistant Editor Luis Cornelio contributed to this report.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact Facebook headquarters at (650) 308-7300 and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “misinformation” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us using CensorTrack’s contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.