‘For all their reassurances, the disturbing trend continues unabated…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, introduced H.R. 7363, a bill to take away special liability protections from social media companies that act as biased publishers instead of neutral platforms.
“Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are now among the largest and most powerful companies in the world,” Gohmert said in a press release. “More and more people are turning to a social media platform for news than ever before, arguably making these companies more powerful than traditional media outlets”
However, Gohmert said, these companies benefited from special legal protections specifically governing Internet regulations, which other media did not have the benefit of, under Section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934.
The rules assume that the Internet should have less regulation since it functions more as an open public forum. Gohmert said those early assumptions about the World Wide Web now deserve another look.
“Instead of acting like the neutral platforms they claim to be in order obtain their immunity, these companies have turned Section 230 into a license to potentially defraud and defame with impunity.”
The legislation would reclassify social-media companies that use algorithms to arrange news feeds as “publishers” or “speakers.” Publisher status would apply to a social-media company that “displays user-generated content in an order other than chronological order, delays the display of such content relative to other content, or otherwise hinders the display of such content relative to other content.”
Publishers are subject to penalties for negligence and incitement, whereas platforms are not responsible for the materials that they display.
“Representatives of social media companies have testified in Congressional hearings that they do not discriminate against or filter out conservative voices on their platforms,” Gohmert said. “But for all their reassurances, the disturbing trend continues unabated.”
He noted that several whistleblowers and leaked emails have surfaced recently that belie the companies’ official narrative.
“Employees from some of these companies have communicated their disgust for conservatives and discussed ways to use social media platforms and algorithms to silence and prevent income to conservatives.”