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Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says Facebook, Twitter and other social media services need clear free speech laws


He said that these social media services should not be allowed to make these freedom of expression decisions for themselves. (File image)

Free speech and social media: As problems related to incitement to post and freedom of expression on social media emerge around the world, the need to regulate content on social media platforms has become very important. This became clear in the incident of violence in the US Capitol and in the peasant protests in India. In the midst of this, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said clearer laws and rules were needed to examine whether controversial accounts like that of former US President Donald Trump should be run on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. He said that these social media services should not be allowed to make these freedom of expression decisions for themselves.

Nadella said that unilateral measures by private social media companies for this purpose are not stable in the long term and therefore a framework of norms and laws must be created. He added that as a citizen he would not advocate that a single CEO of any of these companies make such decisions regarding social media that have now become critical to maintaining a democratic structure for the long term.

Social media is a platform for people to share their views, opinions, and even news and facts, and they are now a source for consuming such news as well. Therefore, these platforms lead people to show solidarity with their own views, especially when it comes to politics. However, this also leads to polarization as people ignore facts or views that the other side advocates. As a result of this gradual polarization, abuse and harassment have reached an all-time high on these platforms, and in the midst of politically charged scenarios around the world from the USA to Russia and from India to Myanmar, a line must be drawn where a contribution can be taken as an opinion and where it becomes incitement to violence. Therefore, making this decision dependent on one person, even if it is the CEO of one of these platforms, can be too risky.

While Microsoft is not directly involved in running a social media platform, it is one of the cloud computing platforms and has been included in the entire debate about the deplatforming of certain social media accounts, apps, and individual voices.

Microsoft supports the demand for search engines that pay for news

Meanwhile, Microsoft, which supports Australia’s demand that search engines pay news agencies for news posted online, has asked other countries around the world to follow Australia’s lead. Australia has proposed a law requiring companies like Facebook and Google to compensate news outlets for their stories. While this bill is being rejected by both Facebook and Google, Microsoft has offered to fill the void if Google decides to take up its threat to shut down the search engine in Australia.

Microsoft’s call for all countries to follow in Australia’s footsteps came after several people asked Microsoft whether it would support such a law if proposed in the US, EU countries or Canada, claiming that its Attitude would stay the same.

For now, however, all eyes are on US President Joe Biden to see if he would support Australia for its bill now in parliament or if he would follow his predecessor Trump in his decision to reject the proposal. Microsoft, on the other hand, has said the US should bring a similar proposal into the country rather than opposing Australia’s proposal that requires tech companies to support the free press.

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