Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) introduced legislation Wednesday to limit the scope of big tech’s Section 230 legal immunity to stop “un-American” censorship of free speech on the Internet, Breitbart News can exclusively reveal.
“Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy, with our Founding Fathers enshrining this sacred right in the First Amendment to the Constitution,” Loeffler outlined in a statement.
Loeffler introduced the Stop Suppressing Speech Act of 2020, which would replace ambiguous terminology in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act with more concrete terms to preserve free speech on the Internet. The legislation would use the terminology recommended by the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The legislation would remove Section 230’s “or other objectionable” material standard, which tech experts contend grants big tech companies too much leeway to censor free speech without significant legal recourse. Loeffler legislation would replace “or other objectionable” material with “unlawful, or that promotes violence or terrorism.”
Loeffler’s introduction of the legislation arises as Twitter and Facebook censored a New York Post article saying that, contrary to Biden’s claims, Biden allegedly met with an executive at Burisma when he was vice president. Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, reportedly arranged the meeting while he was working as a lobbyist for the company.
Loeffler said America should no longer allow Facebook, Google, and other big tech companies to dictate the terms of speech on the Internet.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow Big Tech to handpick the speech that conservatives and Americans may access and post on the internet,” the Georgia conservative said. “For too long, Big Tech has hidden behind the overly vague Section 230 protections, while engaging in practices that are fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.”
Loeffler has taken significant steps to rein in big tech’s censorship. She introduced the Stopping Big Tech Censorship Act to amend Section 230 and provide a pathway for individuals to challenge big tech companies’ liability protection after a company censors otherwise constitutionally protected speech.
The Georgia conservative also cosponsored the Limiting Section 230 to Good Samaritans Act to allow Americans to sue big tech companies for suppressing free speech on the Internet.
Twitter is set to announce measures to censor President Donald Trump and others if they claim an "early victory" on election night. https://t.co/BalPbJnhLo
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) September 11, 2020
Loeffler sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), urging the agency to define the criteria by which companies can receive Section 230’s legal immunity. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai recently announced that they would create a rulemaking to clarify Section 230’s legal immunity.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas recently wrote in an opinion that the “otherwise objectionable” standard in Section 230 is too vague and that “the Federal Government [is] free to update their liability laws to make them more appropriate for an Internet-driven society.”
Clarifying the scope of big tech’s legal immunity has gained significant traction within the House of Representatives.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) introduced the companion legislation, the Stop Censorship Act of 2020. He said in a statement Wednesday:
Big Tech should not have special immunity to censor anything and anyone they don’t like. The broad and undue immunity for content and user removal granted by Section 230 must be reined in. Congress cannot continue to subsidize, deputize, or blackmail Silicon Valley to decide what is or isn’t an allowable conversation. This bill empowers users and limits Big Tech to the same rights and liabilities as everyone else, and I applaud Senator Loeffler for sponsoring this effort in the Senate.
Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Lance Gooden (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Jim Banks (R-IN), Matt Gaetz (R-FL0, Ted Yoho (R-FL), Tom Tiffany (R-WI), Ron Wright (R-TX), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Brian Babin (R-TX), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Ross Spano (R-FL) cosponsored the bill in the House.
Loeffler charged that her legislation would preserve Americans’ free speech on the Internet.
She said, “That’s why I am introducing the Stop Suppressing Speech Act of 2020 to empower individual users and hold Silicon Valley executives to the same standards – and the same liabilities – as every other American.”
Read Sen. Loeffler’s Stop Suppressing Speech Act of 2020 here OLL20977
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3