Former CNN reporter Maria Ressa was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for her “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression.” On Wednesday, she traveled over to CBS and The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to claim that freedom of speech on social media is responsible for the raise in authoritarianism around the world.
During their interview, Colbert asked, “You don’t just talk about how to stand up to a dictator, you also talk about how standing up to social media companies is important too. So how are those two connected, authoritarians or dictators and social media companies. How are they connected in ways that perhaps we don’t often think about?”
Ressa claimed that “One enabled the other. You know, there’s a reason why 60% of the world today is now under authoritarian rule, the numbers of democracies globally has been rolled back to 1989 levels.”
To back up her absurd claim she claimed that Rodrigo Duterte would never have been elected president of The Philippines, her native country, if it wasn’t for Facebook.
Throughout the interview, Ressa would also cite academic studies to give her argument more validity, but this cherry-picking of evidence ignores that countries that were dictatorships prior to 1989 and ones like Russia and Venezuela that did not relapse because of social media and that those regimes hate social media and freedom of speech and that Duterte is no longer president of The Philippines.
After also blaming social media for January 6, Ressa added, “Three sentences have I said repeatedly since 2016, if you don’t have facts, you can’t have truth. Without truth you can’t have trust. Without these three we have no shared reality. We can’t solve any problems. We have no democracy. That’s what social media has done. It has come in, and used free speech to stifle free speech, right?”