Trump’s social media bans are raising new questions on tech regulation
We've all heard the news This week, Some of Silicon Valley's social media giants have given President Trump the boot the moves by the likes of Twitter and Facebook and sparked a global conversation about who has the right to regulate speech and what role the big tech platforms should play in policing the Web. Rose. Lydia Manta leader covers technology for the show and joins me to talk through all this little you've been following some of the reactions to the trump banned by several social media platforms. What are you saying? Yes. Oh, Marco's you might imagine there's been a wide range of reactions to this. Some people are applauding the social media platforms for banning Trump, even though they say this should have happened long ago and then others have some reservations. So, for example, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called the span problematic that it should be up to legislators of a country to decide how speech is regulated. This is a critique that we heard from officials in the UK as well as France, this idea that In a democracy. There should be clear laws and regulations around acceptable speech online and that these decisions should not be left up to tech CEOs. I mean, even here in the U. S air our conceptual limits to free speech, the classic formula of not shouting fire in a crowded theater, for example, But it is really complicated. How do other democracies regulate? What ends up on social media in the U. S. Because of US laws, social media platforms air basically immune from being held legally responsible for what users post online. But that's not the case in other parts of the world, like in Europe and Germany, in particular, leads the way on legislation that cracks down on certain types of online speech. So in 2017, they passed this law that basically says That social media companies have 24 hours to remove hate speech or face huge fines. And now lawmakers in Germany are looking at what happened in the U. S on Capitol Hill last week and saying This is a reason why we need to strengthen this law. How would they strengthen it? Basically, they want social media companies to be required to when they see cases of hate speech and other criminal activity on their platforms to take that straight to the federal police in Germany so they can investigate. This is something German lawmakers were debating, adding to the law last year. It didn't pass because of privacy concerns. But it's interesting that now because of what Happened in the U. S. Some lawmakers in Germany are saying look clearly more needs to be done to deal with online speech before it escalates to real world physical violence. So going back of that German law you mentioned the one that was passed in 2017. What is deemed illegal denying the Holocaust hate speech against minorities. And these are things that Germany outlawed after World War two. And since 2017. They've applied these rules online to France. Also tried to pass a similar law last year, cracking down on some of the same things, but that was overturned by the courts there, interestingly enough because of free speech concerns, So that's one criticism of this kind of legislation. And then another criticism is that it deals with very narrowly defined hate speech, and not with things like disinformation, conspiracy theories, all the kind of problematic stuff that experts say helped lead to the capital Riot. Last week, right? That kind of disinformation conspiracy there. So what our country's doing to tackle that that seems to be really fundamental. Just last month, the European Commission came out with what's been described as a landmark set of proposals to require social media companies not just to do more to address hate speech and disinformation, but also to be much more transparent about what they're actually doing to deal with some of that in their platforms. Now they're years away from actually becoming law and being enforced. And until then, Ah, lot of this policing is going to be left up to the private companies themselves to do even in Europe, which again is considered to be well ahead of the U. S. Clearly something the U. S is going to have to take a lot more seriously. The world's Lydia Manta leader. Thank you very much. You're welcome, Marco.