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Top House Republicans dropped new legislation Wednesday to overhaul a controversial law that gives social media platforms legal immunity for content, attempting to reduce what they say is rampant censorship of conservatives.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio introduced a draft discussion bill to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a provision that protects social media companies such as Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter from being sued for content posted by their users.
The draft legislation, supported by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California, aims to stop social media giants with hundreds of millions of users from having Section 230 protections, hold the major platforms accountable for content moderation decisions, empower users to challenge unfair instances of censorship online, and force the tech companies to be transparent about what they censor and why.
“Big Tech is out to get conservatives. This draft legislation builds upon previous work by our conference to undo the legal immunity that Big Tech hides behind to evade accountability," Jordan said in a statement Wednesday.
"We want to hear from our colleagues about how we can move forward together to finally stop the censoring of conservative voices on the internet," he added.
The parties are divided over policy relating to content moderation. Democrats are focused on curbing what they describe as the spread of misinformation and disinformation, while Republicans are targeting what they say is rampant censorship of conservatives by the social media giants.
Despite bipartisan agreement to hold Big Tech companies more accountable for unfair and arbitrary behavior regarding content moderation, there is no agreement on how to change Section 230 within Congress.
Most Democrats and Republicans are hesitant to repeal the act completely, particularly without a ready replacement, due to the worry of social media companies clamping down on all types of user-generated content if they are held liable for it.
Even many conservative lawyers say Republican legislation meant to stop censorship on social media platforms, such as attempts to overhaul Section 230, could backfire and result in less conservative speech and a number of onerous lawsuits.
Nevertheless, congressional Republicans say Big Tech companies are aggressively censoring conservatives and must be stopped.
"Big Tech is increasingly becoming a destructive force to freedom of speech in America and they must not be permitted to do so with impunity," House Energy and Commerce Republicans said in a statement regarding the bill Wednesday.
"They are silencing conservatives and speech that doesn’t fit the liberal agenda and orthodoxy," they added.
Democrats, on the other hand, cite studies concluding social media companies don't discriminate against conservatives and, in fact, boost their content.
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Tags: News, Policy, Censorship, Section 230, online commerce, Congressional Republicans, House Republicans, Jim Jordan, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Judiciary Committee
Original Author: Nihal Krishan
Original Location: Top House Republicans drop new bill to rein in Big Tech censorship