The Biden Administration has been criticized for its intrusive interactions with social media companies. Recently, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the administration from further communicating with social media companies about content and censorship. This injunction came after former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki openly admitted that The Biden White House was “flagging problematic posts” for social media companies.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and colleagues reintroduced the PRESERVE Online Speech Act. This bill would combat censorship coordination between big tech companies and governments by requiring technology companies to disclose any U.S. or foreign government requests or recommendations regarding content moderation.
“If the government is working with Big Tech to censor freedom of speech, the American public deserves to know. Transparency is essential to protecting our First Amendment. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to require the government to disclose any requests or pressure it makes to tech companies to censor speech.” – Senator Rubio
Senator Rubio was joined in his efforts by Senators Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Ron Johnson (R- WI), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and JD Vance (R-OH).
“The American people deserve to know if their government is using big tech companies to end-run the First Amendment and censor speech. I’m pleased to co-sponsor Senator Rubio’s legislation to require transparency and ensure that the government cannot work secretly to censor Americans.” – Senator Hagerty
“We cannot allow Big Tech to continue to be a willing partner in the corruption of our institutions,” Sen. Johnson stated. “I’m proud to partner with these Senators to shine sunlight on online platforms’ participation in censorship of Americans’ protected speech.” – Senator Johnson
“The Biden administration has a track record of working hand-in-hand with big tech companies to censor conservatives and opinions they disagree with. That’s not right, and it goes against the very nature of our constitution. The government should never play a role in censoring Americans’ free speech online, and if it does, Americans deserve to know with full transparency and accountability.” – Senator Scott
Specifically, this bill would:
- Require internet companies to publicly disclose within seven days any government (U.S. or foreign) request to moderate content outside of a law enforcement proceeding and detail any action taken as a result.
- Levy a daily fine of $50,000 on non-compliant firms. These funds are directed to the FCC to provide rural broadband access.
- Require the FCC to submit an annual report to Congress covering all government censorship requests that year and actions taken as a result.
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