Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) will announce today that he is working with Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee to craft legislation that would strip social media giants of their Section 230 legal immunity if they fact check content on their platforms, according to a copy of his podcast which Breitbart News exclusively obtained.
On the Florida conservative’s podcast, Hot Takes with Matt Gaetz, he said that he is working on a bill that would prevent social media giants such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google from fact-checking content on their platforms. Gaetz’s announcement follows as Twitter decided to fact check President Donald Trump’s tweet on Tuesday.
Twitter tried to fact check the president over Trump’s tweet, claiming that mail-in ballot would lead to increased voter fraud.
….living in the state, no matter who they are or how they got there, will get one. That will be followed up with professionals telling all of these people, many of whom have never even thought of voting before, how, and for whom, to vote. This will be a Rigged Election. No way!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
After Twitter fact-checked Trump’s post, the president threatened to regulate or shut down social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter.
“Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices,” Trump wrote on Wednesday. “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”
Gaetz noted that social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook enjoy a special liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This immunity shields them from lawsuits if they were to remove and host content.
A lot of people don’t see that Facebook and Twitter … you see Twitter disadvantaging the president, they enjoy liability protections that are not enjoyed by your local newspaper or your local TV station, or Fox News, or CNN, or MSNBC. They have special benefits under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act as digital platforms because they’re not creating content for which they should be liable. They’re not making decisions about content, they’re simply saying come one, come all with your content. And as a consequence of that, they’re getting a bunch of protections.
The Communications Decency Act stipulates that a platform, such as Twitter, cannot be sued for what users post on their platform as long as they act as platforms and not publishers.
Noting that the social media companies have become increasingly biased against conservatives, Gaetz questioned whether social media companies deserve to keep their Section 230 immunity.
He asked rhetorically, “Well now, it really begs the question with what Twitter is doing. Do they deserve that? Do they deserve it? And I would suggest that they don’t.”
Gaetz added that it is not “good for the country” regardless of politics when these social media companies cease to stay neutral platforms.
Gaetz said that he is working with members of the Judiciary Committee to work on legislation to remove big tech’s Section 230 immunity if they continue to fact check on their platforms.
He said, “I am currently working with my Republican colleagues on the Judiciary Committee to craft legislation to say that if you’re going to opine as to the truth or falsity of that which is put on your platform, for the sake of its viewers, you don’t get the protection of Section 230. You are not a platform. You are doing something else, you are editorializing.”
Gaetz’s office told Breitbart News that the legislation would make big tech companies’ legal immunity contingent on not offering editorial judgments, such as fact-checking content.
“If Twitter is going to fact-check President Trump, that really begs the question of who those fact-checkers and if they are groups of people that shown bias against the president,” Gaetz said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.