Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL) called for removing liability protection for Big Tech companies as a measure to combat digital censorship on Wednesday’s edition of the Breitbart News Daily podcast with host Alex Marlow.
The congressman from Florida noted that the world’s largest technology companies deploy politically-driven censorship across their platforms while benefiting from liability protection from legal penalties for censoring constitutionally protected content.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) separates Big Tech firms from legal designations as publishers or speakers of content they host.
“Right now, all of your Big Tech companies have liability protection,” Steube explained. “When these social media companies started years ago — I wish I would have been here, but I wasn’t — a Republican Congress gave them liability protection because the argument at the time was, ‘They would be sued out of existence and not be able to get off the ground.'”
He continued, “Of course, now they’ve used that, knowing that they can do things like censor the Hunter Biden story, censor [Breitbart News], censor your emails, not allow you to speak on vaccines or COVID or any of these other things, and there’s legally nothing that you or Breitbart or anybody can do to stop them legally from doing that.”
“President Trump wanted to completely remove Section 230,” he added. “I don’t think we should completely remove it. I think we should reform it.”
Steube said his proposed legislation, the Curbing Abuse and Saving Expression In Technology Act, would remove Big Tech companies’ liability protection provided by Section 230 of the CDA.
He remarked, “What my bill does is it puts a market dominance test in place for the big guys. So, anybody that’s over a certain amount of subscribers, they can’t violate your First Amendment rights. Because if we completely do away with Section 230, smaller conservative startups — like we’ve seen with Parler and some of these conservative social media platforms — will get sued out of existence.”
Steube said his bill would allow for lawsuits against Big Tech companies for censorship in violation of the First Amendment.
“My bill has a market dominance test,” he explained. “It would specifically target Twitter, Facebook, Google, and the big guys, and if they violate your First Amendment rights, you would have a legal cause of action against them.”
He concluded, “Just the mere passage of that bill would change their behavior because they’re not going to want to get sued by a whole bunch of people when they’re censoring your posts and colluding with the Biden administration to determine what you’re seeing and not seeing.”
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Follow Robert Kraychik on Twitter @rkraychik.