As the fight against Big Tech corporation’s alarming crackdown on conservative voices ramps up, Twitter and other social media giant’s ban of President Donald Trump has inspired lawmakers to begin taking action. To put social media on its heels, State Rep. Tom Kading of North Dakota has proposed a bill that would allow users to take legal action if social media censors or removes their content on a political basis in North Dakota
“I’m frankly shocked at what’s happening to our country and censoring does not create unity, it does not help the situation of division in our country, and it does not de-escalate the situation,” Kading (R-ND) said. “All it really does is make those who have been silenced dig in deeper and be more suspicious of what’s going on.”
Legally, the bill would hold social media companies liable in a civil lawsuit for damages for any user “whose speech is restricted, censored, or suppressed,” as long as it is not “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”
“If a website comes out and selectively publishes information,” Kading explained, “or manipulates true information in order to create a certain desired narrative, this restrictive action can essentially amount to defamation.”
Kading’s efforts join dozens of other Republican lawmakers’ to wrestle down social media platforms terrifying and near-absolute control of the flow of information and ability to strike down accounts and content they don’t want on their site. The 1996 ruling of Section 230 prevents socials media companies from being held liable for third-party posts and grants them the ability to moderate objectionable content, however, today social media companies take advantage of the ruling to now moderate political content.
Though a serious crackdown on social media’s powers, the North Dakota state representative believes his bill is in compliance with Section 230, adding: “If Big Tech doesn’t follow their terms of service and they are banning one particular political party … and they censor outside the scope of Section 230, then there’s this civil liability.”
Entering the Biden administration, the struggle against social media giants will only grow in intensity.