Republican lawmakers are demanding that social media giants file costly lawsuits over police content on their websites, with the aim of a federal law that prevents Internet companies from suing to remove posts.
In nearly two dozen states, GOP politicians have introduced bills that allow civil lawsuits against systems, which they call “censorship” of positions. Many are protesting against the abolition of political-religious statements, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Democrats, who are also calling for more control over big technology, are sponsoring the same measures in at least two states.
The shield of federal responsibility has long been the target of former President Donald Trump and other Republicans, whose grievances over conservative views in Silicon Valley escalated as companies began distorting misleading messages about the 2020 election.
Twitter և Facebook, often criticized for their opaque police policies, took an additional step to silence Trump on their platforms after the January 6 uprising in the US Capitol. Twitter has banned him, while a semi-independent commission is reviewing the indefinite suspension of Facebook on his account, discussing the issue of restoring access.
Experts argue that the legislative proposals are doomed to failure, while the Federal Law – Part 230 of the Law on Communication Decency “is in force. They said state lawmakers were shaking unconstitutional territory in an attempt to interfere with the editorial policies of private companies.
Len Nihoff, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, described the idea as “unconstitutional.”
“If the online platform wants to have a policy that will delete certain types of tweets, delete certain types of users, ban certain types of content, it is the exercise of its right to disseminate information,” he said. “And the idea that you will create a platform for action that will allow people to sue when that happens is deeply problematic under the First Amendment.”
Bills vary slightly, but many allow civil lawsuits to be filed if a social media user is censored for posting on political or religious issues, with some offering $ 75,000 for each blocked message. They will turn to companies with millions of users, get rid of messages calling for violence, inciting crimes or other similar acts.
Oklahoma’s sponsor, Republican Sen. Rob Standridge, said that social media messages are unfairly censored, that people should be able to challenge the actions of programs, given their strong place in the American discourse. His bill was submitted to the commission at the end of February – 5. With 3 votes, the Democrats were against.
“This simply gives citizens an opportunity,” he said, adding that companies “cannot abuse that immunity” granted to them by federal law.
Section 230, part of the 1996 Federal Broadcasting Act, generally exempts Internet companies from suing for what users post on their websites. The charter, which was designed to boost the growth of the Internet, exempts websites from lawsuits for removing content that is “obscene, promiscuous, unscrupulous, dirty, overly violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable” as long as companies operate in good faith.
As the power of social media grows, so does the prospect of government regulation. Several congressional hearings have been held on content moderation, with Silicon Valley executives sometimes calling for testimony. Republicans և Some Democrats argue that companies should lose their shield of liability or Section 230 should be updated so that companies meet certain criteria before receiving legal protection.
Twitter և Facebook և has been hailed for what critics describe as slow, suspension or expulsion of an account after the fact has ended, with the Liberals later complaining that they have given too much breadth to conservatives and hate groups.
Trump has rallied against Section 230 throughout his tenure before Twitter և Facebook blocked his access to systems after the Capitol attack. Last May, he signed a largely symbolic executive order instructing the executive to ask independent law-making agencies whether new regulations could be imposed on companies.
“All these technological monopolies are going to abuse their power, to interfere in our elections, it must be stopped,” he told Capitol supporters hours before the riots.
Antigone Davis, Facebook’s global head of security, says these kinds of suggestions will make it harder for the site to remove messages that include hate speech, sexually explicit photos, and other malicious content.
“We will continue to advocate for updated Internet rules, including federal legislative reform that protects free speech, while allowing platforms like ours to remove content that threatens people’s safety or security in the United States,” he said.
In the announcement, Twitter says: “We apply the rules of Twitter in a reasonable, impartial manner in our service, regardless of ideology, political affiliation, or our policies to help protect the diversity and health of public speaking.”
Researchers have not found widespread evidence that social media companies are biased towards conservative news, posts or materials.
In a February report, the Stern Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University described the allegations as political misinformation spread by Republicans. Report entry recommends that social media sites provide clear justifications when they take action against content posted on their platforms.
“Greater transparency, as suggested by Twitter and Facebook when they took action against President Trump in January, will help dispel allegations of political bias while clarifying the limits of acceptable user behavior,” the report said.
As long as federal law is in place, government proposals are largely political, says Darrell West, of the Brookings Institution, vice president of public policy group management studies.
“This is red meat for the base. “It simply came to our notice then. “They saw Trump start on Facebook, on Twitter, միջոց this is a way to tell Republican voters that it’s unfair, համար Republicans are fighting for them.”
Izaguirre reported from Lindenhorst, New York
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