A day before Twitter, banned President Donald Trump from its platform Rep. Kelly Townsend received the initial draft she has been working on to end the censorship practices of the social media giants.
During the 2020 election cycle, both Twitter and Facebook appeared to have been increasingly aggressive in stomping down conservative speech and effectively silencing conservative leaders.
Those efforts seemed to be especially aggressive in swing states like Arizona.
While many conservatives have fled Twitter and Facebook since the Trump ban, for those who remain, Townsend’s bill would prevent the Big Tech monopolies from “purposely” deleting or censoring the social media website user’s “religious speech or political speech.”
The bill would prohibit the “use an algorithm to disfavor, shadow ban or censor the social media website user’s religious speech or political speech.”
Townsend’s “Stop Social Media Censorship Act” adds teeth to the probation by adding a $75,000 penalty for each violation.
Townsend knows she is taking on some of the most powerful companies with some of the most ruthless lobbyists. However, she is undaunted in her fight for free speech.
“I have taken issue with Big Tech’s intrusive nature for years and have sought to rein them in,” said Townsend. “However, that has not been an easy task. This bill was requested prior to the most recent assault on conservatives, but it’s time has definitely come, nevertheless. The Silicone Valley lobby will no doubt come out in full force to kill it, but I believe the public’s patience has expired and we need to push this across the finish line.”
Townsend lays out her case in Sec. 3. Legislative Findings:
The Legislature finds that:
1. This state is generally opposed to online censorship unless the content is injurious to children or promotes human trafficking; only then is this state for limited censorship.
2. This state has a compelling interest in holding certain social media websites to higher standards for having substantially created a digital public square.
3. This state has an interest in helping its citizens enjoy their free exercise rights in certain semipublic forums commonly used for religious speech and political speech, regardless to which political party or religious organization they ascribe.
4. This state has an interest in deterring the owners and operators of social media websites that have substantially created a digital public square from maliciously interfering in elections.
“It will be fascinating to watch what groups like the ACLU do on this bill, because free speech and the first amendment are supposed to be their cause,” said one GOP lobbyist, “but most left-of-center groups love big tech censorship because it silences right-of-center causes, so will they be true to their stated mission, or reveal their ideological mission?”