Sweden’s biggest populist party is calling on the government to follow in the footsteps of Poland introduce new laws to protect free speech online for citizens of the Scandinavian country.
The politicians allege that “democracy risks being eroded when American companies reject certain individuals’ opinions” and say tech giants shouldn’t be allowed to institute complex algorithms that militate against particular points of view.
Sweden Democrats leader Jimmie Åkesson and three other members of his party have called on the government to put together a new panel to draft a legislation that could resemble Poland’s, where lawmakers plan to give social media users a right to challenge moderation decisions along with the introduction of hefty new fines for Silicon Valley giants.
The Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, along with senior members of his government, have hit out at big tech firms in recent weeks, with Morawiecki going so far as to compare the current environment to the dark days of the USSR.
“Legal content must be protected. In the same way that platforms are required to delete illegal content, they should have an obligation to preserve content that remains within the framework of the law and not discriminate content based on subjective values” said the group of right-wing politicians in a piece for a Swedish debate magazine.
The Sweden Democrats are one of the largest political parties in the country and topped opinion polls as recently as 2019. The country goes to the polls again next September, when the party is expected to gain further from their 17.5% showing in 2018.
They join a growing list of major political figures, beyond just Poland, who have called for ordinary people to enjoy free speech online.
The Hungarian justice minister has spoken out about the shady practice of social media shadow banning, Angela Merkel called the suppression of Donald Trump “problematic”, and the President of Mexico – an unlikely ally of Donald Trump – has warned Big Tech that he plans to lead the charge against censorship at the G20.
Last month the Australian government came out swinging in a struggle with search giant Google, warning the company that the nation will not “respond to threats” as they mulled over pulling search functionality from Australian web users.
And even the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis has chimed in about perceived discrimination, as state legislators move to divest Florida funds from the firms in question.
With new voices joining the struggle every day, it appears that the time is soon coming when western governments will find the courage to bring Big Tech to heel.