While Left-wing censorship supporters stand by and excuse politically-themed censorship from social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook on the grounds that they’re “private companies” and therefore they have a right to censor whomever they want, not everyone agrees that these platforms should have carte blanche powers to censor any and everyone who expresses dissident political ideas, or that they should be given unregulated power to influence elections, voting trends, or the presence of political candidates. This is why Republican Senator Joe Gruters from Florida introduced Senate Bill 1722, also known as the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act”.
The bill was first introduced back on March 1st, 2019 and has been referred to the Innovation, Industry, and Technology committee as of March 8th, 2019, according to the Florida state legislation web portal.
The bill makes it very clear that utilizing social media platforms with more than 75 million users to censor or stifle political speech on the grounds of ideologically-driven censorship will be made illegal. The general summary of the bill reads…
“Citing this act as the “Stop Social Media Censorship Act”; providing that the owner or operator of a social media website is subject to a private right of action by a social media website user in this state under certain conditions; prohibiting a social media website from using hate speech as a defense; authorizing the Attorney General to bring an action on behalf of a social media website user, etc.”
As mentioned, this would only apply to social media services that have a registered userbase of more than 75 million, so this would readily include places like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
It would mean that the aforementioned websites could not delete your content or censor your profile based on “hate speech” or other nebulous reasons. Doing so would incur a $75,000 penalty per violation and have their attorney fees paid by the social media platform. While that may not seem like much, it quickly starts racking up if there are systematic bans of certain individuals based on their political views, as discussed by Tim Pool during his visit to the Joe Rogan podcast while discussing the issue of censorship with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on March 5th, 2019.
This would also prevent sites like YouTube from banning or censoring users from making political commentary that they deem as “hate speech”, since the bill specifically forbids social media platforms from using that as a basis of justification for bans, where it states…
“A social media website may not use the social media website user’s alleged hate speech as a basis for justification or defense of the social media website’s actions at trial.
“The Attorney General may also bring a civil cause of action under this section on behalf of a social media website user who resides in this state and whose religious speech or political speech has been censored by a social media website.”
It’s unclear how this would affect censorship measures from YouTube like the Limited State policy, which doesn’t delete or ban users from the platform but hides the content from users, prevents them from sharing the content, and hides the video from search results. It’s obviously something that would have to be discussed with Gruters, given that Limited State censorship doesn’t delete the content nor does it ban the user from YouTube. However the Limited State policy is equivalent to a measure that’s called shadowbanning, since it’s a soft-ban on the content without actually removing it from the platform.
More clearly, however, the bill would definitely prevent sites like Facebook from further censoring Conservatives and it would prevent Twitter from banning users like Infowars, Harmful Opinions, or the Proud Boys. In the latter’s case, they were banned for no other reason except for the fact that they stand against the Communist anarchists known as Antifa.
The bill also indicates that all costs to the social media platform holder can be mitigated by restoring the user’s account or the posts that were wrongly deleted, banned, removed, or censored.
If you read through the text of bill 1722, however, it does not advocate for all forms of speech to be allowed on social media platforms.
Posts that call for immediate acts of violence, or are obscene or pornographic in nature, were removed via a court order, entices criminal conduct, involves minors bullying minors, comes from false impersonation or an inauthentic source, or is the result of an operational error will indemnify the platform holder of responsibility.
Additionally, this act will only be enforced for those who are 18 years of age or older.
The act will go into effect July 1st, 2019 if it manages to get voted through in time.
(Thanks for the new stip spambot)