Politics

EXCLUSIVE: ‘No More Free Passes’: Sen. Rubio To Introduce Legislation That Would Halt Big Tech’s Censorship Of Americans

Photographer: Graeme Jennings/Washington Examiner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Henry Rodgers Senior Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce legislation Thursday that would halt big tech’s censorship of Americans by directly going after the algorithmic amplification, something big tech uses to determine the content their users see.

The Daily Caller first obtained the legislation, titled the Disincentivising Internet Service Censorship of Online Users and Restrictions on Speech and Expression (DISCOURSE) Act. The bill would remove Section 230 protections for tech companies that use algorithmic amplification, engage in content moderation, or create and or develop information content.

Section 230 delineates internet content hosts and providers, like social media sites and search engines, from internet content producers, like their users. It ensures that the hosts are not held legally responsible for the posts of their users, and allows the hosts to “voluntarily take [actions] in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider … considers to be … objectionable.”

Former President Donald Trump often inveighed against Section 230, arguing that it allowed social media sites to suspend conservative users and engage in biased moderation. He vetoed the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) after Congress refused to include language repealing it, although Congress overrode his veto. (RELATED: As Bipartisan Calls To Amend Section 230 Mount, Experts Emphasize Unintended Consequences)

“Big Tech has destroyed countless Americans’ reputations, openly interfered in our elections by banning news stories, and baselessly censored important topics like the origins of the coronavirus,” Rubio said in a statement. “It is absurd that these massive companies receive special protections through Federal law, even as they tear our country apart. No more free passes — it is time to hold Big Tech accountable for their actions.”

READ THE BILL HERE: 

(DAILY CALLER OBTAINED — S… by Henry Rodgers

Rubio’s legislation would “hold Big Tech responsible for complying with pre-existing obligations per Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 and clarify ambiguous terms that allow Big Tech to engage in censorship,” according to his office. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Jim Jordan, Judiciary Republicans Reintroduce Bill That Would Amend Section 230’s Protections For Big Tech)

The DISCOURSE Act would “update the statute so that when a market-dominant firm actively promotes or censors certain material or viewpoints — including through the manipulative use of algorithms — it no longer receives protections. The bill also limits Section 230 immunities for large corporations that fail to live up to the statute’s obligations.”

Both Republicans and Democrats have soured on Section 230 in recent years. A bill introduced by Democratic Sens. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Mark Warner of Virginia would focus on “the real harms caused by internet platforms—things like civil rights violations, stalking, and harassment,” Hirono told The Wall Street Journal.

Rubio plans on introducing the legislation later Thursday morning.