Unjustified censorship of Facebook violates free speech

Unjustified censorship of Facebook violates free speech

Several of our editors also fell victim, unable to use their profile for days, while all their acquaintances asked them why they see a "Facebook user" instead of their name, e.g. Messenger. Their profile has since been returned, but in addition to Facebook unjustifiably blocking them for 2 days, expiring them among their friends, they asked for ID cards for a community profile and even censored them, as during those 2 days they could neither share nor comment. , but they couldn't even enter the site. The closer the election is, the more Facebook will interfere in Hungarian internal affairs, the right-wing, pro-government voices will simply be muted for days and weeks, the ads will not be allowed to appear, anti-government propaganda will be favored - just like in 2018.

However, there is a positive sign: the authorities have started talking about the problem, the phenomenon has been discovered, and we hope that the work we have just started will be the result.


Freedom of expression and the flow of information are violated by the wave of unwarranted personal profile postings on Facebook. According to experts, it would be necessary to regulate the community site to create Hungarian legislation, but the Hungarian authorities have no room for maneuver in data protection issues such as requesting personal documents. Attila Péterfalvi, President of the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, proposed that the government create legislation on social media, according to which community profiles can only be suspended for good reasons, and the Hungarian authority can override its legitimacy. Political scientist János Simon told our paper that with a wave of bans in a political campaign, the owner of Facebook has a strong influence on the outcome of the election.

Over the summer, the second wave of personal profile suspension has swept across Facebook. With its mass, it unreasonably, without filtering, suspended Facebook’s personal profiles, which

only after the photo of the ID was sent, it was released days later.

The practice of suspensions is a matter of concern, as it hinders free expression, the flow of information and, in some places, work. For now, there are only guesses as to what might be behind another wave of disqualifications. Interestingly, however, the date coincides with U.S. President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the fall U.S. presidential election should be postponed because of the corona virus.

According to political scientist János Simon, the real reasons for the wave-like suspensions of Facebook are still being speculated, but it is certainly clear that Facebook has a big role in shaping public opinion, because the site is reached even in the smallest settlements. The political scientist stated that whoever controls Facebook is just like who controls television channels.

- Facebook took over the role of mobile phones in political campaigns, previously SMS played a big role, now social media. If personal profiles are massively blocked in the wake of a political campaign,

they can paralyze government power, and there is a serious chance of that in the next election

Simon John called attention. The political scientist has long been pushing for the Visegrad countries to come together and create a new community interface so that the flow of information can’t just work through Facebook.

- The temporary suspension of profiles is also an objectionable practice in terms of freedom of expression and the flow of information, and equal rights must be granted in all areas. We need to investigate Facebook’s irregular practices and look for alternatives, ”János Simon told our paper.

Attila Péterfalvi, President of the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information, proposed new legislation at a meeting of the Digital Freedom Working Group set up by the Ministry of Justice. According to Attila Péterfalvi, taking into account the Hungarian practice

the copying of documents is a matter of concern, which is also contrary to the principles of the data protection regulations and the practice of the Hungarian data protection authority.

- I consider this practice excessive, but Facebook is not subject to Hungarian rules, but to uniform European regulations. The Hungarian authority cannot initiate an investigation. On the other hand, from the side of information flow, it is necessary to create new legislation, Péterfalvi said. The President of the National Authority for Data Protection and Freedom of Information informed that Minister of Justice Judit Varga had established the Digital Freedom of Opinion Working Group. At this meeting he picked up that

the review of the suspension of personal profiles should be a Hungarian competence.

- I suggested that a Hungarian official procedure should be established, during which the Hungarian authority obliges Facebook to review the unjustified blockages, so that the expression of opinion really remains free - Attila Péterfalvi informed our newspaper.


Tags: Media