Alternative social network Minds has debuted a digital bill of rights amid accusations of bias and political manipulation at Google, Facebook, and other Big Tech companies.
“Minds is officially adopting the Manila Principles On Intermediary Liability, a digital bill of rights, outlined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other leading digital rights organizations,” the social network announced, Thursday. “The principles have been endorsed by nearly 300 leading press freedom and technology policy organizations and individuals. They act as a guideline for protecting freedom of expression and create an open environment for innovation.”
The bill of rights are as follows:
1. Intermediaries should be shielded from liability for third-party content.
2. Content must NOT be required to be removed without an order by a judicial authority.
3. Requests for restrictions of content must be clear, be unambiguous, and follow due process.
4. Laws and content restriction orders and practices must comply with the tests of necessity and proportionality.
5. Laws and content restriction policies and practices must respect due process.
6. Transparency and accountability must be built into laws and content restriction policies and practices.
“Our decision to adopt a digital bill of rights stems from our strong conviction that freedom of speech is an inalienable right and required for healthy societies to flourish,” declared a Minds spokesperson to Breitbart News. “The implementation of these rights is a way to demonstrate our starkly different beliefs from those of other service providers and social networks like Google and Facebook regarding censorship, bias, and political manipulation.”
“We believe freedoms of expression and opinion are essential to our humanity, and that those freedoms need to extend across the entire ideological spectrum, rather than solely to those whose ideas are considered ‘within the norm’. This is not an issue we see impacting one side of the political spectrum or the other—non-conformist ideas are being censored every day on both the left and the right,” she continued. “It is crucially important, now more than ever, to be able to discuss and share our ideas without fear of being silenced or censored by those with the most power.”
The spokesperson continued:
We feel it is our duty to protect these freedoms for our users, and that any major service provider that actively impedes free speech and expression has lost their way. Freedom of speech is etched into the very foundation of modern civilization. Peer-reviewed studies have proven that the only true way to fight against societal evils like racism, terrorism and bigotry is through open and honest discussion. If service providers continue to ban and manipulate users that don’t fall within their biased algorithmic preferences, they will inadvertently create a systemic wave of people banding together to escape oppression. And when those on the fringes are left to their own devices in this echo-chamber, any potentially harmful radical views become more radical, with the potential to be even more harmful. Rather, let us strive for understanding, for coexistence, and for free and open dialog about issues that matter to each and every one of us.
Minds also expressed that “all digital service providers should adopt all these principles to protect user rights,” including Facebook, Google, and Twitter, and added, “We hope, as the first major social network to adopt a digital bill of rights, that our counterparts and other service providers across the board will follow, and prove once and for all to their users that integrity and personal freedoms are always more important than a corporation’s bottom line.”
“In fact, the most profitable networks of the future will most likely be pioneers of Internet freedom,” the company concluded.