Facebook Oversight Board co-chair and Helle Thorning-Schmidt made it very clear that she does not believe free speech is a human right.
“How do you moderate content and how do you find that balance between human rights and free speech, which is a human right, but also other human rights because free speech is not an absolute human right,” the censorship head asked during a live stream this week.
“It has to be balanced with all the human rights and that is what the oversight is there to do,” she added.
Thorning-Schmidt is one of the 20 people who sit on Facebook’s newest attempt to create a mass censorship campaign, which the White House just recently publicly endorsed. The board masquerades as a means of providing support to “people’s right to free expression and ensure those rights are being adequately respected.”
The board’s actions, however, contradict that mission. Their decisions about former President Donald Trump’s ban from the platform and their continued efforts to subdue alternative opinions about COVID-19 have shown, they give anything but an accurate and fair look at content moderation.
“Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right,” the website clearly states, despite employing the efforts of people such as Thorning-Schmidt who spew anti-free speech rhetoric.
Instead of promoting and respecting “free expression, through independent judgment” as the oversight organization pledges to do, at least half of the “outside experts and civic leaders” who sit on the exclusive board are products of and often contribute to higher education institutes, which are overrun with leftist policies designed to crush dissent.
Thorning-Schmidt is just one of the many censorship czars who fit the elite bureaucrat status Facebook seems so keen to boost despite promises to promote diversity. Much like former Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Nick Clegg’s quick rise to prominence within the Big Tech company after joining in 2018, Thorning-Schmidt assumed the role as one of the four co-chairs of the oversight committee shortly after its establishment in 2020.
Under her profile on the website, the oversight board touts Thorning-Schmidt’s experience as former Prime Minister of Denmark, membership in multiple parliaments, her expertise in “human rights,” and her deep connections to foreign policy think tanks as reasons why she brings insight to the censorship organization. It also mentions Thorning-Schmidt’s service on multiple corporate boards across the globe, a merit held by several others on the suppression committee who were chosen by Facebook and the four co-chairs.
Many of the other members have also been entrenched in the global swamp of politics, government, and corrupt corporate media for decades, such former Clinton and Obama administration staffer Suzanne Nossel who publicly called the New York Times’ controversial decision to run Sen. Tom Cotton’s call for law and order a “mistake,” and Maina Kiai, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and Emi Palmor, the former Director General of the Ministry of Justice in Israel.
Michael McConnell, another board member who was initiated at the oversight committee’s creation in 2020, served as a U.S. Circuit Judge of the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit before spending time as the Director of the Stanford Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School. Ronaldo Lemos didn’t do time in the government but shortly after he joined the social media censorship committee, he accepted a position as Visiting Chair Professor of Technology at the Schwarzman College at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.
Others such as Sudhir Krishnaswamy, Alan Rusbridger – who made the executive decision to destroy hard drives containing information leaked to The Guardian by Edward Snowden – Evelyn Aswad, Catalina Botero-Marino, Katherine Chen, Nicolas Suzor, and András Sajó all work in academia.
While the members joined the board with the intent to expel any harmful content they deem as “misinformation,” they’ve forced the banning or suppression by ever-shifting Facebook policies through a difficult appeals process filled with stipulations and hoops.
Like Thorning-Schmidt, who previously argued in favor of Facebook’s oversight board colluding with other tech oligarchs to create a mass digital suppression campaign that spreads across all platforms, the oversight board overlooks the long list of politically motivated digital throttling completed by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others to express a subtle hope that the new emphasis on content regulation will be an independent solution separate from Facebook that could eventually be capitalized on by other companies.