GOP senators want to make it easier to sue tech companies for bias

Allison Matyus

Republican senators introduced a new proposal on Wednesday that would limit protections of Section 230 for social media platforms. 

The bill, called Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, would make social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter undertake a “duty of good faith” before receiving any protections from Section 230, Axios first reported. 

The proposed bill would allow users who don’t believe that a platform is “operating in good faith” by being inconsistent and unfair with what content is acceptable or taken down to sue these companies for $5,000 plus attorneys’ fees. 

Platforms with more than 30 million U.S. users per month and more than $1.5 billion in global revenue would be subject to the bill. This means Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and other popular social networks would have to comply with the new limitations. 

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) sponsored the bill. 

“For too long, Big Tech companies like Twitter, Google, and Facebook have used their power to silence political speech from conservatives without any recourse for users,” Hawley said in an official statement. “Section 230 has been stretched and rewritten by courts to give these companies outlandish power over speech without accountability. Congress should act to ensure bad actors are not given a free pass to censor and silence their opponents.”

Twitter told Digital Trends that they have nothing to share about their thoughts on the proposal. Digital Trends reached out to Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube for comment on the reported bill. We’ll update this story when we hear back.

Currently, Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act protects websites from being liable in court for the content that their users post.

Section 230 says: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

President Donald Trump signed an executive order last month pushing to revise Section 230 to strip those protections after Twitter attached a fact-check message to Trump’s tweet about how a mail-in ballot system would promote voter fraud. Critics saw the move as retaliation and an attempt to strong-arm tech companies.