Hungarian Govt: Big Tech Wants to ‘Rule Our Life and Force Us Into a Bubble’

Tech
JOHN THYS/AFP via Getty Images

The Hungarian government has warned against Big Tech oligarchs’ moves to dominate the public square online through the arbitrary and opaque enforcement of community guidelines — in their view, a kind of “pseudo legal system”.

“If we are unable to control the activities of the tech giants that are building a pseudo legal system, they will rule our life and force us into a bubble,” warned Judit Varga, the Minister of Justice in the national-conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Minister Varga also questioned “whether these guidelines are in tune with the principles of the rule of law” and sounded a note of caution over the “move to reduce political content” on Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, questioning whether the platform would apply double standards to its users rather than treating everyone equally in comments to the 21st Century Institute.

She also took aim at the way social media titans have turned their product into a “drug” more generally, and sought to influence the public’s opinions after getting them hooked.

Previously, the Hungarian justice minister has declared that now is the time to “fight for our digital freedom” against tech censorship, and pledged legislation to prevent social media platforms from banning, censoring, or suppressing users and content who are not breaking any laws.

“[T]oday, anyone can be arbitrarily disconnected from online space without any kind of official, transparent or fair procedure, or the opportunity for redress,” she lamented, vowing that “Digital damage inflicted deliberately out of political or ideological interests [will] not occur without repercussions in Hungary anymore!”

The Central European country was following the lead set by its historic partner Poland, which is also led by a national conservative, anti-mass migration and multiculturalism government, which has announced it will be passing a new ‘Freedom Act’ empowering users to appeal to a kind of independent digital court if they feel they have been censored for lawful speech.

The moves came in the wake of then-U.S. President Donald Trump’s mass deplatforming by practically every major Silicon Valley just prior to Democrat successor Joe Biden’s inauguration, but the Polish government said it had been drawing up solutions to anti-conservative censorship online prior to this, having seen the tech giants taking action against Christian pages with large followings already.

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