Bulgarians protest against Facebook for pro-Kremlin moderation

Bulgarian pro-democracy protesters claim that TELUS International Bulgaria, a third-party contractor that provides moderation services to the nation’s most popular social media platform Facebook, promotes anti-European and pro-Kremlin voices. 

They blame the organization for silencing anti-Putin content that supports Ukraine. The activists have planned to protest against Facebook moderation and express their pro-democracy and pro-European voices.

The civil association BOEC will lead the protest against Facebook. BOEC was one of the organizers of the anti-government demonstrations that took place throughout the summer of 2020 in opposition to the leadership of GERB and its leader, former prime minister Boyko Borissov.

“My account has been banned 50 times over the past five years. Because of my work with the BOEC and our campaigns against the mafia and the Kremlin’s “fifth column,” I have been out of commission for more than three years in total, the BOEC leader Georgi Georgiev told Euractiv.

Democratic Bulgaria, a pro-European party, urged that Facebook be given a parliamentary hearing. Bulgarian Facebook users say that their accounts have been unjustly banned.

Ivaylo Mirchev, a member of parliament for Democratic Bulgaria, believes that it is essential to make it apparent how Facebook, the media outlet with the most considerable sway in Bulgaria, uses its content management guidelines.

As this channel significantly impacts all facets of public life, he continued, “it is good for the parliament and the public to be aware of the principles and regulations of their work.”

Christo Komarnitski, a well-known cartoonist for Sega with more than 52,000 Facebook fans, has once again been banned for 30 days for sharing a message by a Bulgarian who claims to be in Ukraine and will remain there till victory. Although the post has not been removed, users who were sharing it were banned by Facebook.

Advertisement expert Radoslav Bimbalov has also been banned, and the platform threatened the poet Manol Glishev with profile deactivation.

The investigative website Bird.bg reporter Atanas Chobanov was among the censored journalists. His suspension, however, was short-lived since Facebook accepted his appeal and decided that its policies had remained intact.

The vice president of operations at TELUS International Bulgaria, Kristina Ivanova, disputed that her organization decides whether to enforce Meta regulations as early as December when critics toward TELUS began to mount.

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