A few days ago, after his incitement to riot that led to the assault on Capitol Hill, Facebook and Twitter banned former US President Donald Trump from their platforms. Which apparently did not please the Republican Party. Recently, in North Dakota (United States), lawmakers close to Republicans therefore proposed a bill intended to fight against censorship on social networks .
Submitted to Congress last week, this bill, called the Act to permit civil actions against social media sites for censoring speech, specifically targets Facebook and Twitter. According to this bill, by wanting to prevent users from expressing themselves, Facebook and Twitter should pay.
But under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act , which is a federal law, the consideration of this new bill is almost impossible. So unless we remove Section 230, which surely won't happen, the demand of Republican lawmakers in North Dakota won't go any further.
Censorship of Facebook and Twitter would prevent users from expressing themselves freely
Basically, it was following Trump's ban on Facebook and Twitter that this bill was born. Trump had as a reminder urged people to attack Capitol Hill . And according to Tom Kading, the main representative of this bill, the reaction of Facebook and Twitter is unjustifiable, especially since it is a president.
This bill therefore suggests that following censorship, social networks have prevented their users from expressing themselves. Facebook and Twitter will therefore have to pay damages to their users, since they deprive them of their rights.
Kading also clarified that this bill will be a safeguard that will only benefit those who reside in North Dakota.
This bill is a lost cause
But the point is that this bill goes against the Federal Communications Decency Act, particularly in section 230.
Thus, " no supplier or user of an interactive IT service should be treated as the publisher or author of information from another provider of informative content" (…), exonerating the civil liability of social platforms for " any action taken willfully and in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the Supplier or User considers obscene, obscene, lustful, disgusting, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable, whether such material is or not protected by the Constitution ”.
Akiva Cohen, a lawyer, shared a tweet stating that as long as Section 230 is there, this bill will never be considered. The latter also underlined the "stupidity" of this approach.