The US Pressured Facebook into Suspending Slovak Politician’s Page

A group of US congressmen has pressured Facebook to act against hate speech in Slovakia, sending a letter to Meta company and forcing Facebook to suspend the page of Slovak opposition member Ľuboš Blaha.

In their letter addressed to Meta Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the members of the Intelligence Committee of the US Congress asked the company to address the massive amount of disinformation on Slovak-language Facebook and pro-Russian disinformation in Slovakia.

The Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D) expressed in it the Committee’s deep concerns regarding the continued presence of harmful misinformation and pro-Russian propaganda on Slovak Facebook demanding for it to be evaluated, fact-checked, labeled, downranked, or removed in accordance with the platform’s public pledges and stated policies.

The letter came in light of April’s visit of several congress members to Bratislava where government officials and civil society representatives briefed them on the issue.

It is not known for sure if the letter had an impact on Facebook’s latest decision since the leftist politician Blaha (Smer-SD) has allegedly been breaking social network rules for a long time and is suspended, as Facebook noted, due to repeated violations of policies regarding the hate speech.

However, that didn’t stop him from commenting that Facebook has intervened in Slovak politics following the decision.

An influential disinformation spreader, Blaha had the most Facebook followers out of all Slovak politicians – with 174,000 followers and 11 million post likes in 2021.

Blaha complained that ever since the US congressmen at the Slovak Defence Minister Naď asked Facebook to block Slovaks with a different opinion, he has virtually been under a constant block.

Blaha was punished in February 2022 when he was not allowed to post anything on his page on the platform for a day.

After calling the late American diplomat Madeleine Albright a “butcher” for her role in the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Blaha was handed a three-day ban in April.

Previously in November, the video in which he reportedly claimed that COVID vaccines had killed patients and blamed the vaccinated for the third pandemic wave was removed by Facebook.

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