New Bill Takes Aim at Censorship

New Bill Takes Aim at Censorship

( – Private tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter have an incredible amount of power over the information on their site. Their access to marketplaces and advertising is also considerable. However, recent events may change this situation. Current tech company protection laws are under fire as censorship takes place on these platforms.

Communications Decency Act

Under the Communications Decency Act of 1996’s Section 230, big tech companies shall not be “treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” This means they cannot be held accountable for content — memes and status updates alike — users post on their sites. This protection allows buyers to create honest reviews on shopping sites like Amazon, and Craigslist to have unique classified ads without the companies taking on potential liability risks.

However, Google recently strong-armed The Federalist, a conservative news site, by forcing it to take down certain user comments on its site or else its ad revenue would be demonetized. As Google is the largest advertising company in the world, this poses a tricky situation. Critics see Google receiving protection under Section 230 while withholding them from its own clients. So, many are demanding change.

Free Speech

The first attempt to secure free speech within private media giants was made in May by an executive order from President Donald Trump. It followed directly after Twitter placed fact-check warnings on his tweets. The order called for new legislation on Section 230 to hold companies accountable if they do decide to censor content.

Right on cue, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Tom Cotton (R-AR) introduced the Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act on June 17. This bill would allow Americans to sue the companies who’ve selectively censored political news, ads, and other related content on their platforms.

Immunity Lost

Under this proposed legislation, big tech companies would no longer have immunity from censorship lawsuits and would be held accountable if they do promote or spread fake news. If a company’s found to have broken their good-faith terms, they’d pay $5,000 to the users, plus legal fees.

The right to free speech is one of the cornerstones of American society. But, a law from 1996 may be outdated when it comes to understanding modern censorship and who’s responsible for what’s said on the world wide web. So, keeping big tech companies responsible for their actions while ensuring speech is uncensored through new legislation could go a long way towards a promising future.

~Here’s to Your Prosperity!

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