Facebook's, Twitter's, and Google's Agreement With The European Union On Content


Facebook, Twitter, and Google have all signed on to an agreement with the EU as to restrictions on content allowed. As a headline sort of thing it has been labeled a "hate speech" deal. Click Here for the article.

The "core" of the agreement seems to settle on the following:

"When the limits of free speech are trespassed, when it is about criminal expressions, sedition, incitement to carry out criminal offences that threaten people, such content has to be deleted from the net," offered German Justice Minister Heiko Maas.

Maas' statement seems hard to argue against. However, such is a slippery slope. The slippery part comes in the definition of terms and who gets to "judge" the merits of statements made.

For example, let's look at the definition/description of sedition - a component of Maas' statement:

In law, sedition is overt conduct, such as speech and organization, that tends toward insurrection against the established order. Sedition often includes subversion of a constitution and incitement of discontent (or resistance) to lawful authority.

Quite literally should I offer an opinion that people should resist a certain action by government that, in my opinion, is contrary to the established law of my country, am I not guilty of incitement of discontent?

And, in fact, doesn't my opinion run afoul of a definition of insurrection?

Insurrection definition:

An act or instance of rising in revolt, rebellion, or resistance against civil authority or an established government.

Clearly, my above stated opinion is advocating resistance against an established government - not violent resistance, just plain resistance.

This article reports that 857 people in Britian were arrested in 2015 for "online crimes of speech". The definition of such offenses seem to be defined as “using [a] public electronic communications network in order to cause annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety,” and can result in a six-month prison term or fine of up to £5,000."

"Annoyance"? How much annoyance? To whom? "Inconvenience"? Whose? "Needless anxiety"? What does THAT mean and how would such be judged? These terms could mean anything! This is all about "controlling the masses" - not an attempt to curtail anything. The terms are too nebulous.

Further, within Islam apostasy includes even denying, or merely questioning, any "fundamental tenet or creed" of Islam, such as the divinity of God, prophethood of Muhammad, or mocking God, or worshipping one or more idols.

There's the case of Imran Firasat who was prosecuted in Spain by Muslims for speaking against Islam. A step too far, I feel.

So, was what Firasat offered hate speech or exercising freedom of speech?

And, of course, there's this Story. How does one categorize this one?

And, consider the following:

If I offer that blacks, on average in the United States, are less educated than whites, is this hate speech or an expression of fact? (Well, it is fact! - Not ALL, on average!)

If I offer that I have a different political opinion than do you, is that hate speech or just your insecurity and immaturity showing? Or, is such violating your immature safe "space"?

If I offer than some of the millions of illegal immigrants in our country have committed crimes of robery, rape, and murder, is that hate speech or a statement of fact? (Well, it is a fact! - Not ALL, some!)

By now you may understand my point. The definitons of words have meaning; and, who judges those words and what opinions these judges carry can lead to fascism or freedom.

OR, all the above depends on who is judging! And, most likely it will not be you or I.

Such an agreement that companies have reached with the EU could have deleterious effects. Extreme care should be taken before applauding or rejecting such a deal.