Today, Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced an innovative new bill, the PRO-SPEECH Act, to hold Big Tech companies accountable for their controversial business practices and content moderation decisions.
In response, Jon Schweppe, director of policy and government affairs at American Principles Project, released the following statement:
“Under Senator Wicker’s legislation, Big Tech platforms are offered a choice: they can either promote free speech and free expression, and stop discriminating against their users, or they can publicly declare themselves to be publishers and forgo their Section 230 immunity. This would codify the common sense argument Big Tech critics have been making for years — if a company like Twitter wants to pick and choose what kinds of opinions are allowed on its website, then it’s not in the platform business, it’s in the publishing business.
“Importantly, the bill creates a broad protection for speech by incorporating the phrases ‘lawful content’ and ‘lawful internet traffic.’ In other words, anything that could be said legally on a public sidewalk would be protected speech on Big Tech platforms under this statute. The legislation would also protect innovators by not applying these rules to small companies and would simultaneously prevent Big Tech companies from engaging in anti-competitive behavior like what happened to Parler in January. And the bill would require Big Tech companies to be more transparent and hold them more accountable to their own terms of services.
“Sen. Wicker deserves a lot of credit for coming up with such an innovative proposal. Our hope is that it will generate a substantive conversation in the months ahead as Republicans look to pass legislation addressing Big Tech censorship should they take back the House and Senate in 2022.”