AZ Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Hold Big Tech to Account for Censoring Political Views

AZ Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Hold Big Tech to Account for Censoring Political Views By Randy DeSoto  for Western Journal

Republican Arizona lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday to treat online companies like Twitter and Facebook as publishers rather than neutral platforms when they censor content on their sites.

House Bill 2180, which was submitted by Rep. Mark Finchem and Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borrelli and co-sponsored by House Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci, is directed at stripping the so-called Section 230 protections provided for in federal law.

That section of the U.S. Code shields social media companiesfrom facing civil liability in relation to the content they allow to be posted.

It also protects these companies from liability for restricting “access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be … objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

However, HB 2180 seeks to draw the distinction between a neutral platform and a publisher.

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It provides that “those engaged in the business of allowing online users to upload publicly accessible content on the internet and that exercise a level of control over the uploaded content for politically biased reasons is: deemed to be a publisher,” not a platform.

If enacted, the law would empower either Arizona’s attorney general or an online user who claims to have suffered damages to bring legal action against the online company.

Finchem told The Western Journal that the legislation is a direct response to actions taken by social media companies to remove users (like President Donald Trump) or content from their sites, based on the individual’s political views.

“In Arizona, if you do that and you de-platform or you somehow interfere with your censor or you somehow interfere with free speech, you’ll be assessed a fine that will be set by the attorney general’s office,” the lawmaker explained.

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