Last week, Facebook and Twitter banned president Donald Trump’s social media accounts in an unprecedented crackdown on free speech, with the decision coming down after the riots at the US Capitol. Later, in a statement, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote that the extension of the suspension of Trump’s account, which was imposed on Facebook and Instagram, was imposed “indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete”.
The actions of the tech giants have caused heated discussion concerning freedom of speech on social media. Media expert and New Media Institute head Eryk Mistewicz commented on the matter on Catholic Radio. He stated that censorship is being imposed through social media, and perhaps most imposingly, the users on these platforms have no rights to appeal such decisions. “It is untrue that social media was created as a place for the unconstrained exchange of views. We wanted to see it that way, it was presented in that way to us by the PR departments of social media companies who have great PR and impressive lobbying teams,” he said.
Mistewicz added that lobbying from companies such as Facebook and Google is even more powerful than the PR from the weapons and pharmaceutical industries. The Polish expert said these companies effectively influence how they are seen by governments, and he believes both countries and citizens are unable to oppose them in any way. RMF FM “We were promised ‘free media’ but politicians, including Polish ones, have been played by the lobbyists,” said Eryk Mistewicz. He emphasized that in “free media” platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google, people have no rights. Moreover, he stressed, Joe Biden’s victory in the US will strengthen liberal-left media, including new projects from this political direction. Social media and its favored media outlets influences how the media itself and Big Tech is perceived by governments and “the only thing people can do is accept that decision. We cannot speak out against them in any way”. Mistewicz stated on the radio program that politicians, including Polish ones, have been “played” by the lobbyists, and he said that Trump and the rest of us have been played on our own accord. Mistewicz, who specializes in the French affairs, pointed out that the French Minister of Culture Roselyne Bachelot has entirely different approach towards the matter. “She declared that she would never set foot on Google’s campus because Google was destroying French and European culture,” he said. The expert stated that France became less poisoned by what Facebook offered than Polish elites have.