Republicans must use every legislative instrument at their disposal to combat left-wing political censorship practiced by big tech, said Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), offering her remarks on Wednesday’s edition of SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Daily with host Alex Marlow.
“What we’re seeing now is too much control in that hands of too few over political thought and American discourse,” determined Loeffler.
Loeffler described digital political censorship as an undermining of First Amendment values of free speech and expression.
“This is really important, not only because it’s an election year, but because it’s the right of every American to have free speech,” Loeffler remarked. “Free speech and the rule of law [are] two things under attack by the left, and unfortunately, they’re all radicalized into believing that conservatives don’t have freedom of speech.”
Modern tools of political censorship online such as “deplatforming,” “demonetization,” and “shadow banning” are “very Orwellian,” remarked Loeffler.
Loeffler called for a reevaluation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which affords legal liability to companies like Google, Facebook, and Twitter from lawsuits over user-shared content published on their platforms.
Breitbart News explained the benefits afforded to big tech via Section 230 of the CDA:
Section 230 gives Big Tech companies immunity from lawsuits arising from user-generated content. If a person is defamed on Google, YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other big tech platforms like Reddit, those platforms are not legally liable for the content like a traditional publisher might be. This allows social media platforms to host billions of posts from users without a potentially crippling legal risk.
Loeffler joined several Republican senators in writing a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai requesting clear parameters under which Section 230’s protections are extended to technology companies.
Loeffler said, “We need to re-look at those protections that were afforded to big tech, particularly since this law — this 1996 Communications Decency Act — was written before these companies even came into existence.”
“Google and Twitter weren’t founded ’til much later,” Loffler continued. “They’re benefiting from what is now effectively a loophole, and this Section 230 carve out allows them to operate as neutral platforms, but now they’ve crossed over into becoming publishers.”
Loeffler cosponsored legislation with Cotton in June to allow Americans to sue large technology firms for political censorship. The legislation “would empower Americans to sue Big Tech companies for selectively censoring or suppressing political speech,” according to her press release, which adds:
The bill, the Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, would also prohibit Big Tech companies from receiving immunity under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act unless they update their terms of service to pledge to operate in good faith and pay monetary damages if they violate that pledge. The bill was introduced by Senators Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).
“We’ve watched Big Tech silence Americans without repercussions for far too long,” said Senator Loeffler. “It’s clear Section 230’s definition of ‘good faith’ is not sufficient. This legislation I am cosponsoring will give everyday Americans the ability to hold massive, powerful tech companies accountable for their blatant effort to make some political opinions voiceless.”
Loeffler concluded, “[We need] to make sure that we’re using every possible means to look at this. … What we’re seeing here is this targeting of conservatives, [they are] trying to silence our voices.”
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