Free speech is a problem – Not so much for the general population but for the establishment class and their grip on social influence. Much like the invention of the printing press that created an information revolution in the Middle Ages, the internet has created a global platform that almost anyone on the planet can access and speak, hypothetically, to millions or even billions of people. This level of information sharing is unprecedented in human history and so it is no surprise that governments and globalists want the ability to filter what is said and what is heard to their benefit.
To this end, the EU Commission, using the COVID event as a convenient cover, heralded the passage of the ‘Digital Services Act’ (DSA) in early 2022. The DSA was presented as a tool for the EU to “rein in” the power of social media corporations, but in reality, its primary purpose is to give the EU legal precedence to force Big Tech companies to apply EU censorship standards to their platforms even if they are not European based businesses. In other words, the goal is to force the entire Western world to accept the European governance of online speech while ignoring national boundaries and constitutional protections.
Similar to China’s “Great Fire Wall”, the EU plans to use the DSA as a means to shut down domestic access to offending websites and content. But where the EU situation is unique is in its focus on controlling speech outside of Europe as well. That is to say, information and speech among non-Europeans could still be identified as a threat to their leftist sensibilities and cited as a reason for sanctioning a website altogether.
This means, for example, that an EU-friendly (censored) version of Twitter might still not be allowed to operate, not because of information shared by Europeans, but because of information shared on Twitter outside of Europe. The EU will not be happy until every other country follows the same online rules they follow.
These rules would include EU “hate speech” and “disinformation” restrictions. Keep in mind that in many parts of Europe using the wrong pronouns for a trans person is considered punishable hate speech, and pointing out that medical masks are useless for stopping covid transmission is considered dangerous disinformation. Scientific facts don’t play into such determinations, they are purely political.
Elon Musk and Twitter have been cited as targets of the DSA, and some argue that the DSA was specifically created by the EU in preparation for Musk’s eventual takeover of the massive platform. EU officials publicly argued with some vigour that they would find a way to force Musk to conform to their political taboos. Twitter is one of several dozen signatories to the European Union’s “2022 Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation,” a self-regulatory framework for addressing disinformation tied to the DSA.
The 2022 Disinformation Code contains a series of 44 “Commitments,” some of which are further subdivided into “Measures.” When a company becomes a signatory, it submits a subscription document identifying which Commitments (and, more specifically, which Measures) it is signing up for. Twitter’s June 2022 subscription document indicates that Twitter has committed, among other things, to: “defund the dissemination of disinformation and misinformation,” “prevent the misuse of advertising systems to disseminate misinformation or disinformation,” and “put in place or further bolster policies to address both misinformation and disinformation.”
Who gets to determine what constitutes “disinformation?” A group of faceless and unelected bureaucrats on the other side of the world from Twitter headquarters. How Musk plans to meet the requirements of the DSA without crushing the renewed surge of free speech on the site is not entirely clear. In theory, armies of mass flaggers operating out of places like Germany can now seek out tweets they don’t like in the US and have posts erased, or accounts locked and banned, even if the info presented is factually accurate.
That which the EU considers “hate speech” and “disinformation” is based on far-left ideology and zealotry, not on clearly defined and reasonable guidelines. That which progressives deem acceptable today will ultimately become outlawed tomorrow. Adapting to their rules means abandoning any semblance of a free environment. There is no free speech in Europe.
Thierry Breton, the current Commissioner for Internal Market of the European Union and member of the World Economic Forum tweeted this week about his excitement for the official legal enforcement of the DSA, saying that it would ‘make the internet safer for everyone.’
But what threat is the public being saved from? Hurt feelings? The notion that governments are stewards of speech is nonsensical because all governments naturally seek to restrict freedoms to the furthest extent to which the public will tolerate them. Political elites are not protectors, they are predators, always looking for that next piece of freedom they can snatch away in their jaws.