Jun 20, 2019 - Technology

Critics view Josh Hawley's Big Tech bill as a new kind of censorship


A new bill aimed at increasing accountability of online Big Tech platforms has raised concerns that it may create problems worse than the ones it's trying to solve.

Details: The bill, introduced by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), would open up platforms like YouTube and Facebook to lawsuits about content they host, unless federal regulators certified that their moderation of content was not "biased against a political party, political candidate, or political viewpoint."

Yes, but: Many people say they don't want to see the government being put in the position of determining which online services are "biased" and which deserve legal protection.

What they're saying:

  • CCIA President & CEO Ed Black: "Fans of the fictitious '1984' novel would no doubt appreciate the ludicrousness of a so-called anti-censorship bill that would require companies to get government approval to censor nefarious content — or face legal liability. This is an unbelievable disregard for the essence of the First Amendment and attempt to overlay a lens of partisan politics over the communications of millions of Americans."
  • TechFreedom president Berin Szóka: "Hawley's proposal would revive the Fairness Doctrine, an idea that Republicans have opposed since the Truman administration. For the first time, Internet services would effectively need a license issued by the U.S. government to operate. That would make them utterly dependent upon the goodwill of FTC commissioners, and in turn, the White House."

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