Everyone reading this article right now has likely experienced or knows someone who has experienced some form of social media censorship. Whether your entirely peaceful post was “removed for violating community guidelines” or you were unceremoniously silenced for life, Facebook and Twitter censorship affects millions. No matter what degree of big tech censorship you have faced, there is a common theme with all forms of it — you have no recourse. Well, one lawmaker wants to change that.
After watching censorship ramp up toward the end of 2020, republican lawmakers drafted legislation that could land big tech giants like Twitter and Facebook in legal trouble for silencing political speech.
“I drafted it in December and things have only gotten worse,” State Rep. Tom Kading, R-N.D., the lead sponsor of the bill said.
The bill states that social media sites would be liable in a civil lawsuit for damages to a North Dakota resident “whose speech is restricted, censored, or suppressed,” as long as it is not “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable.”
“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 said. “All it really does is make those who have been silenced dig in deeper and be more suspicious of what’s going on.”
The basis for the bill is rather cunning as it doesn’t focus on censorship because companies will claim — albeit fallaciously — that they can censor anyone they want. Instead, this bill focuses on libel.