Senator Jake Chapman’s closing comments on the Big Tech censorship bill:
“Well, thank you, I just have to say I appreciate all of the disagreement. The reality is, if we had censorship perhaps some of this conversation would have been muted. You know, Sen. Schultz referred to the weaponization of Big Tech. Earlier we heard an individual suggest that this bill is weaponizing, the legislative process against big tech. Perhaps that’s offensive to someone. And thank goodness, Zoom isn’t monitoring and censoring what we’re hearing and seeing. When the political divides are as great as they are in our nation today, we need more conversation. We need more disagreement we need more conversation. But what happens when big tech censors Iowans or censors free speech, like the New York Post? And Facebook throttled that article about Hunter Biden, and Russia. They removed it. You couldn’t share it, I have the screenshots, you could not share it. And yet they were wrong.
“In fact, by their own admission, in a conversation I had with them, they admitted that they were wrong. But what is the remedy? What is the remedy, there is none they’re shielded under us Code Section 230. And so I do find it a little ironic that here we are having the ability to disagree with one another and there’s no censorship, and it’s a beautiful thing. Because we get to learn from each other, we get to learn from each other’s perspectives and points of view. What I am disappointed in is that we keep hearing about the economic impact.
“What is the value of our Bill of Rights? Fifty-six men were willing to die for it. Fifty-six men mutually pledged their lives their fortunes and their sacred honor in establishing a nation built on a foundational belief that we have a right to have our voices heard. And yet, Big Tech is weaponizing their platforms to push a specific agenda.
“We have court cases. I really again am disappointed that no one from Facebook, no one from Google, YouTube. YouTube has been restricting videos — I just have to mention this — Prager U has a video about the Ten Commandments. And it’s restricted. And during congressional hearings, the reason was that it talks about murder. Thou shalt not kill. I mean that is how ludicrous it is, you’re restricting, these videos, putting them in the same category as pornography or violence. It’s shameful.
“These liberal executives out of the Silicon Valley, are not going to control what Iowans hear, what they see and they’re not going to censor them. The Supreme Court themselves and Packingham v North Carolina referenced social media as the public square of the 21st century. And the irony of this is Sen. Mathis, Senator Schultz, myself, any other elected official on social media, based on a court case I believe it was Davison v. Randall. The Court upheld that we cannot as elected officials censor, remove or otherwise prohibit an individual from commenting, from voicing their opinion on these social media platforms, yet because they’re a private company, it’s fine for them to do it. But the elected officials cannot, that is inconsistent. That is merely inconsistent.
“And I think it’s a matter of time before the court does have to make a decision on this very important issue. I would just like to also point out to Nathan Blake with AG’s office I appreciate the comments you gave during the committee hearing. But I think it emphasizes just how big of an issue this really is. I am looking forward to seeing that fiscal note because I think it’s going to demonstrate just how significant of an issue this is in Iowa.
“I agree, there are going to be numerous, numerous complaints that are going to come into the AG’s office, and so I look forward to that.
“I guess the last thing I would just the point out is we have an obligation. My feeling is we have an obligation as legislators under our constitution to protect Iowans under Section 7 — ‘Every person may speak right and publish his sentiments on all subjects being responsible for the abuse of that right no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge, the liberty of speech or of the press.’ We have an obligation to protect Iowans. I respect that these are private companies, but they are the public square of the 21st century. When you have individuals who have been locked down, not so much in this state but in other states, locked in their homes. How are they able to voice their opinion. Governor Newsom over in California is facing a recall election because of some outcry there. But yet, how do they voice their opinion? They do it through social media.
“I think it’s a very dangerous road, big tech is going down. Thank goodness Verizon doesn’t monitor and censor the conversations I have with my constituents. Google, Gmail, I mean we can go through the list. But, Senator Mathis, I have to correct one thing. This is not to simply get the attention of Big Tech. This has to change the behavior of Big Tech. And they can choose, they can continue with all of the policies they have administered thus far, but Iowans aren’t going to foot the bill for it. We just simply are done, allowing them to collect hundreds of millions perhaps well over a billion dollars in tax breaks, while they’re censoring the very people who are footing the bill. So with that, I will sign Senate File 402.”