U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley on Wednesday introduced a bill that would allow people to sue technology companies that selectively censor political speech,media reported. These online platforms must update their terms of service to include a commitment to good faith, and if they violate that commitment, they will be fined $5,000. It would also prohibit online platforms from hiding content from competitors.
“Big technology companies such as Twitter, Google and Facebook have used their power to suppress conservative political rhetoric without providing any recourse to users,” Hawley said in a statement. He added that existing laws give them highly unusual powers.
The bill, co-sponsored by Marco Rubio, Mike Braun and Tom Cotton, is another amendment to Section 230 of the Communications Code Act of 1996. The latter, considered the most important law to protect online speech, could allow social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as Internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast, to face lawsuits over posts they post on their services.
The Justice Department announced a proposal early Wednesday to amend Section 230 to remove protections for online platforms.
The Justice Department’s proposal follows President Trump’s executive order on social media companies late last month. Earlier, Twitter tagged Trump’s email poll tweets, saying they contained “potentially misleading information.” In late May, Twitter blocked a tweet from the president about the death of black Minnesota black George Floyd in police brutale enforcement, and the social media company tagged the tweet as a violation of the site’s “glorified violence” rules.