Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) has introduced a new bill to stop censorship by Big Tech, aimed at rolling back legal perks that allow Silicon Valley companies to suppress political speech with impunity.
The bill would amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which currently allows tech platforms to censor material they consider “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”
Rep. Gosar’s bill would strike this section of the legislation, replacing it with a legal protection that gives tech companies immunity for granting users the ability to block or filter lawful speech.
This would effectively prohibit tech platforms from blocking, prioritizing, or removing lawful content. Instead, they would be forced to give this power to their users, who would then get to decide what content they see and when they see it.
In a series of tweets, Rep. Gosar made the case for his bill.
I just introduced #StoptheCensorshipAct to combat Big Tech’s censorship of political speech.
Learn more 👇
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) July 25, 2019
“The Stop The Censorship Act revokes unprecedented immunities given to Big Tech for censorship of ‘objectionable’ material but retains immunities when acting in good faith to remove unlawful content or providing users the option to filter: i.e, Twitter’s Quality Filter” said Rep. Gosar.
He continued, “Big Tech has demonstrated a clear bias against conservatives and censorship represents an existential threat to free speech, free markets and free elections.”
“Big Tech has been given blanket immunity by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. They claim a ‘platform’s discretion for removing content but claim ‘publishers’ aren’t liable when they monetize their users’ content”
“Despite their claims, Big Tech does not always foreclose on violent/obscene behavior; in fact, they often monetize it-but they do police political speech. Big Tech’s immunity should strictly be for good faith efforts to remove actual unlawful material.”
“Stop The Censorship Act facilitates the option for a self-imposed safe space, or unfettered free speech, whichever the user chooses. Currently, the only content moderation options are versions of whatever material Big Tech wants you to see.”
“[The Act] ensures that there is no use of presumed ‘public’ desire not to be exposed to ‘objectionable’ material to justify the suppression of supposedly ‘objectionable’ political speech.”
There is growing bipartisan momentum for reining in big tech and curbing its ability to censor. Earlier today, Democrat presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) filed a lawsuit against Google for disabling her Google Ads account shortly after the first Democrat presidential debate, when she became the most-Googled Democrat candidate.
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