via The Brief
They feel that there is controversy. Yes, young briefers, last Friday (8) we gave thumbs up to social networks for having banned Donald Trump from the platforms. Now, we come here in humility to say that we were wrong in addressing such a complex subject in a shallow way. Chancel The BRIEFINIANA was not the right place for this. From then on, given the dimension of the theme, we studied what happened a lot and talked to specialists in the legal area to better understand the issue.
But, before embarking on the discussion, a small brief for those who were in the world of the moon. Last week, Twitter banned the U.S. president from the microblog forever and ever, claiming that Trump tweets that questioned the legitimacy of the elections were mobilizing groups to demonstrate violently.
In the same vein, Uncle Mark suspended the president’s accounts on Facebook and Instagram, with no expected date for a return. Twitch and Snapchat have also disabled Trump’s account, while Reddit, TikTok and Pinterest have placed restrictions on their supporters. In addition to social media, over the past few days, even Apple, Google and Amazon have come out and removed the Parler platform from their app stores and data centers, an alternative to the most popular networks and which is dominated by Trump players.
Donald Trump / Facebook Source: Facebook
My house, my rules
With Trump’s digital death, the web was flooded with opinions on the subject. And many, but many questions came up with this story. After all, is banning Donald Trump censorship? What is the limit of performance of social networks? And what is the role of these companies? The answers are not easy and much less objective, but they make us think and mainly help us to understand that no answer is 100% correct.
Platforms are private companies that create their own membership terms. It is the famous love them or leave them. If you agree to the terms and do not violate any of them, you can freely use the tools. But if you don’t agree and / or break some of the imposed rules, it’s over. They can cut you, just like they did with POTUS. The problem, according to Judge Olga Vishnevsky Fortes, is that some of the terms of the platforms have great loads of subjectivity and end up being submitted under an ideological prism.
With nudity, for example, it is easier for Twitter or Face to determine who violated the posting rules, but in Trump’s case it is not. After all, what Jack Dorsey considers inciting violence may not be considered by others. In the same vein, the spread of disinformation is extremely difficult to conceptualize. In this sense, users of social media are at the mercy of the interpretation of their owners.
It is worth remembering that, according to Section 230 of the American Telecommunications Law of 1996, people or companies that limit themselves to transmit third party content on the internet cannot be held legally responsible for what is published there. There are exceptions, of course: social media cannot use this law to shy away from deleting content that constitutes a crime or that violates intellectual property. And no one will accuse aggression of freedom of expression when a social media ban, for example, publications that are racist or contain child pornography.
Rules and more rules
The fact is that the constitution guarantees freedom of expression and prohibits censorship. Despite being a fundamental principle, freedom of expression is not unlimited. The limit, according to the judge, each branch of law will say which it is.
“We are subject to the Constitution, civil laws, penal laws and, in the case of people with public positions, administrative laws. Apart from the rules of the social networks themselves. However, these rules, because they have a high level of subjectivity, could not stay the exclusive responsibility of its owners “, comments the magistrate.
Thus, she believes that the ideal would be self-regulation along the lines of CONAR (National Advertising Self-Regulation Council). “If several social networks come together and create a diversified council, even made up of users, for the creation of an industry code of ethics, the chances of having an ideological ban are less,” he says. “It would then be up to the State, then, to create a law that would make networks responsible for the content disseminated when the speech is in some way criminal or incitement, as long as they do not remove the message in reasonable time,” he adds.
Anyway, for her, the banning of a user should go to the judiciary, because any type of segregation is bad, in addition to being a prior censorship. Jack Dorsey, on the other hand, saw no way out except for the ban, as he had already notified and suspended the president many times before.
Photo: Evan Vucci / Associated Press (Reproduction)
Too big to fail
At first glance, such an antitrust has no connection with the topic, but in fact it ends up being the basis of everything. After all, were it not for the size of these networks, none of this would be being discussed. The dominant power, especially Face, throws a mega spotlight on him. Not only that, its size and global importance automatically puts a social responsibility on its shoulders.
“A company of this size generates a very large impact on the market and cannot do many things, as it has a duty to do many others. It is a fact that these companies need to be regulated even to understand what society expects of them”, comments Marcelo Calliari, Head of Competition Law at TozziniFreire. “We charge networks to do something, but after they do it, we think it is bad. There is no clear direction,” he adds.
Although the role of networks is not well defined, some countries have not seen them merely as a publication channel for some time. The European Union, with its monumental antitrust lawsuit against some technology companies, shows signs that the only way forward is regulation. Only nobody really knows how to do that. The companies are global and would be subject to local ethical, moral and legal standards. Today they follow their own rules and it is as close to global as we have.
“We are not going to escape state regulation. Now, self regulation may even work, but it would face some points of difficult solutions”, recalls Marcelo. For example: how to have diversity on the board when there are only 3 or 4 dominant companies and 1 of them owns others? How to define which companies are part of the sector, some of which operate in other markets as well? The truth is that the whole world is lost and no one is sure how to act.
Returning to the topic of censorship, journalist and writer Pedro Doria says that perhaps we are at the forefront of a concept coined by the Austrian philosopher Karl Popper, the paradox of tolerance, in which the open society cannot be so tolerant as to allow the enemies of open society to use their instruments to destroy the open society. In other words, there must necessarily be a limit, in democracy, to free expression.
For the journalist, what Donald Trump – and Jair Bolsonaro, and Matteo Salvini, and Orbán, Erdogan etc. – they represent exactly that: political movements that attack democratic regimes from the inside.
“They do this from the moment they come to power. Trump is the example of an almanac. He ended his term questioning an election. His questions were legally rejected by the judges he himself appointed. Dissatisfied, he incited a mob to invade Congress,” he commented. in video from Meio. “Now: if these demagogues, populists and right-wing authoritarians are not exactly the perfect example of Popper’s Paradox, then no one else is.”
So, after all that, do you still have the same opinion?