At the Copenhagen Democracy Summit on Friday, former President Barack Obama gave a speech in which he called for online censorship and echoed the sentiments of the Biden administration in pushing for the Disinformation Governance Board.
The former president's speech was preceded by a word from Sahra-Josephine Hjorth, a 2022 Obama Foundation Leaders Europe participant who alluded in vague terms to a call for cracking down on "fake news and misinformation."
"While the increase in use of smartphones and social media first came with the whisper of renewed democratic participation," Hjorth said, according to Reclaim the Net, "fake news and misinformation dominate the digital landscape and result in an erosion of the fabric of truth and polarization."
Obama began his speech, tying together the events of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot with the spread of "misinformation and conspiracy theories.
"In my own country, the forces that unleashed mob violence on our Capitol are still churning out misinformation and conspiracy theories," the former president stated.
By the end, Obama made a simple call for censorship, stating that online speech deemed conspiratorial, disinformative or hateful should be censored.
"We have to take steps to detoxify our discourse — particularly the scourge of disinformation and conspiracy theories and hate online that has polluted our political discourse," he said.
Obama continued, adding that technology companies must "accept a certain degree of democratic oversight and accountability." He then noted how he had spoken at length about this during his April 21 speech at Stanford University.
While at Stanford, Obama called for "solving the disinformation problem" and "hate speech" and said that "while content moderation can limit the distribution of clearly dangerous content, it doesn't go far enough.
"But I also think," he added, "decisions like this shouldn't be left solely to private interests."
On Thursday, the Biden administration called on Big Tech firms to crack down on "misinformation" regarding climate change, Axios reported.
And on Wednesday, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Josh Hawley of Missouri sent a letter demanding answers from Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, regarding the Disinformation Governance Board's plans to work in conjunction with social media companies.
Both Grassley and Hawley, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, wrote in their letter, according to Just the News, that they are concerned "that DHS could be seeking an active role in coordinating the censorship of viewpoints that it determines, according to an unknown standard, to be 'MDM' (misinformation, disinformation, and malinformation) by enlisting the help of social media companies and big tech."
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