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Gov’t protests against removal of Confederation party profile on Facebook

We informed Facebook that the Polish government did not agree with the deletion of the Confederation party profile; we will work to protect the freedom of speech, said Janusz Cieszyński, Secretary of State for Digitisation and Government Plenipotentiary for Cyber Security.

In the Sejm (lower house) on Friday, Mr Cieszyński met with representatives of parliamentary clubs and circles. The consultations concerned, inter alia, how political parties act on the international social platforms. The problem of removing the official far-right Confederation party profile from Facebook on January 5 was also discussed.

The official pointed out that even if the Confederation’s profile included content that “the government strongly does not support, such as disinformation about vaccines, there were other possibilities of an adequate response first, for example, by removing a given post or reacting in such a way that would make the credibility of the platform upheld.”

Mr Cieszyński stressed that the platform did not present any specific posts that were the reason for the deletion of the Confederation account, nor did it “transparently convey to the public why such a decision was made”.

“We strongly oppose this. We believe that it should not be so. These platforms are an essential part of social and political life in Poland and in every other country of the European Union,” said the government’s official.

He declared that government representatives would continue their work in Poland on the basis of the so-called Freedom Act, created in the Ministry of Justice with the participation of Deputy Minister Sebastian Kaleta. Mr Cieszyński added that other activities would be taken on the European arena on the EU Digital Services Act (DSA), in such a way that “everyone can be sure that they can operate in a transparent manner on the Internet, and that the key values, such as free speech, be properly protected.”

Attorney Michał Wawer, the treasurer of the Confederation, who participated in the talks, told the Polish Press Agency PAP that the meeting “unfortunately revealed the government’s helplessness towards Facebook and other internet giants.”

Referring to the effects of Friday’s meeting, the lawyer stated that “the government has not announced that it will take any decisive steps in connection with Facebook’s actions”.

“We still do not know, for example, when the so-called freedom act of Minister Kaleta will be processed,” he added.

According to a statement by the press office of the social network, the Confederation party’s website has been removed due to repeated violations of Facebook’s hate speech rules by publishing “content that directly attacks other people on the basis of so-called protected characteristics such as nationality or sexual orientation” and disinformation rules on on COVID-19, “in particular, the false claims that masks do not contain disease spread, that the death rate of COVID-19 is the same or lower than that of influenza, and that COVID-19 vaccines provide no immunity and are ineffective.” .

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