Facebook board member says oversight has to ‘balance’ freedom of speech

The board member, former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt, said “free speech is not an “absolute human right” and must be weighed against “other human rights” when deciding what content to censor.

“It has to be balanced with other human rights,” she said Thursday at a Politico Europe event. The 20-member Facebook Oversight Board was set up last year to allow corporate executives to claim distance from politically sensitive decisions. The board in May recommended that the company uphold a continued ban on former President Donald Trump’s account after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. The oversight board includes five Americans and 15 members from Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

“How do you moderate content and how do you find that balance between human rights and free speech which is a human rights but also other human rights,” Schmidt said. “Because free speech is not an absolute human right it has to be both balanced with all the human rights and that’s what the oversight is there to do.”

The board reviews some of the most controversial decisions made by Facebook, such as the indefinite suspension of Former President Trump following Jan 6. While it did uphold the suspension of Trump’s account, it criticized the indefinite suspension and gave Facebook six months to decide whether to permanently ban Trump or reinstate his account. Thorning-Schmidt previously argued in favor of Facebook’s oversight board colluding with other tech oligarchs to create a mass digital suppression campaign that spreads across all platforms.



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Jennifer is a CEO, executive producer, host of "Politics in skirts," and a former correspondent for Fox News. She is a lawyer, journalist, and TV and radio host.

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