State Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) will be introducing legislation that prohibits social media platforms from censoring users when they are expressing themselves unless it is in violation of state or federal law. The bill’s purpose is to prevent Big Tech companies from banning, blocking or discriminating against citizens based on ideological beliefs or viewpoints.
“With social media being a quintessential form of communication these days, this bill is to ensure people’s Constitutional right to freedom of speech is not infringed on,” said Cutrona. “As Americans, obviously we are not all going to agree with one another on thoughts and ideas, and that’s okay. But it’s surely not the job of Big Tech employees to choose favorites on what deserves censorship based on ambiguous policies and their personal views.”
Cutrona notes that recent polling shows a majority of Americans stand in favor of regulating Big Tech companies in order to protect First Amendment rights. Additionally, he has heard concerns over social media platforms banning the former President of the United States while allowing Taliban accounts to roam freely on their outlets.
The legislation would implement the following:
• Prohibits social media platforms from censoring a user of the platform based upon the ideas they express, unless those statements violate state or federal law;
• If a social media platform does remove content, the platform must notify the user that the content was removed and what the reason for removal was. The platform must then provide an opportunity for the individuals to appeal the decision;
• Requires that social media platforms publicly disclose accurate information in regards to their content management, data management and business practices. This would include how it curates and targets content to its users, moderates content, and what algorithms or procedures are used to determine what appears when you search on the platform;
• If a social media platform censors an individual and violates the provisions of the bill then the user can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office and the Attorney General can bring civil action against the platform to receive injunction action and recover reasonable attorney’s fees and investigative costs;
• The censored individual can also sue the social media platform to receive declaratory and injunctive relief; and
• If the social media platform refuses to comply with the orders from the court they can be held in contempt of court.
Currently, 29 other states have introduced similar legislation to protect free speech from Big Tech censorship.
“These monopolized Big Tech platforms should not have the power to dictate what they deem as acceptable speech, that’s exactly why we have the First Amendment and why I’m introducing this legislation,” Cutrona added.
Cutrona is currently seeking cosponsors on the bill as it awaits introduction.