NOPE: The Pope Wants More Censorship Online

Pope Francis demanded more online censorship in a debate about equality.

Pope Francis was discussing how he believes the public views him as a “pest” for defending the poor.

When I think about the situations of exclusion or inequality, my questions make me a petty pest. Then I keep asking. While participating online in the World Meeting of Popular Movements, the pope stated that he asked everyone “in the name of God”.

He then discussed social media and “hate speech” online, calling on Big Tech platforms to take an active stance in removing such speech from the internet.

This system with its unwavering logic of profit is outgrowing all human control. We need to slow down the locomotive, which is spiraling towards the end of its control. He said, “There is still time.” He said, “And so I continue in my pestering.”

The pope added that restricting what sort of content appears online is a human rights issue and must be used to encourage “human fraternity and empathy.”

“In the name of God, I ask the technology giants to stop exploiting human weakness, people’s vulnerability, for the sake of profits without caring about the spread of hate speech, grooming, fake news, conspiracy theories, and political manipulation.

For the sake of God, I request the telecom giants to make it easier to access educational materials and connect teachers through the internet to allow poor children to be educated, even if they are in quarantine.

The name of God, I request the media to cease the logic behind post-truths, disinformation and defamation and to instead focus on human fraternity with those most in need.

The pope made similar statements calling on social media platforms to monitor the speech it hosts in 2019, and said the freedoms must be balanced “with the common good of society.”

“Freedom and the protection of privacy are valuable goods that need to be balanced with the common good of society,” he said at the time. “Authorities must be able to act effectively, using appropriate legislative and executive measures that fully respect the rule of law and due process, in order to counter criminal activities that harm the life and dignity of minors.”

He said safety must always be the top priority.

“It will not be possible to guarantee the safety of minors in the digital world without the full involvement of companies in this sector and without a full awareness of the moral and social repercussions of their management and functioning,” he added. “Such companies are bound not only to respect the law, but also to be concerned with the direction taken by the technological and social developments which they produce and promote, since such developments are far ahead of the laws that would seek to regulate them.”

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