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‘Free Speech Is Not An Absolute Human Right’: Facebook Board Member Says Oversight Has To ‘Balance’ Freedom Of Speech

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Facebook board member Helle Thorning Schmidt claimed Thursday that free speech was not an absolute human right.

Schmidt argued that while she believed freedom of speech was a human right, it could not be absolute and had to be balanced with other human rights. (RELATED: Psaki Says People Should Be Banned On All Social Media If They Are Banned From One Platform)

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“Free speech is not an absolute human right,” says Helle Thorning Schmidt, member of Facebook’s Oversight Board and former PM of Denmark. “It has to be balanced with other human rights.”

How does that translate to content moderation? It must strike a balance, find a middle. pic.twitter.com/E5reaQ2bnk

— POLITICOEurope (@POLITICOEurope) July 15, 2021

Schmidt, speaking at a Politico Europe event, addressed how the Facebook board might approach moderating content and determining what kinds of posts should be considered “misinformation.”

“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.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that the Biden administration’s goal was to target “disinformation” on Facebook that might be discouraging people from getting the coronavirus vaccine.

While discussing Schmidt’s comment, Fox News host Tammy Bruce pointed to the White House’s plan to assist Facebook in identifying misinformation and argued that Americans might be concerned to see the government colluding with Big Tech companies, because they thought it would potentially lead to infringement on their First Amendment rights.

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“We have to discuss it because otherwise you will wake up one morning and all of this will be codified and normal. That’s not what anybody wants. Democrats understand this as well and they must begin to step up. Democrats with the civil rights history. They are in Congress. They are regular people. They must start to say enough is enough,” Bruce said.