Senate Republicans introduced a bill that would prevent Big Tech companies from censoring, blocking, or suspending users based on their expressed political and religious views.
Under Senate File 1253, discrimination hinging on “race, sex, political ideology, or religious beliefs” would be an “unlawful discriminatory practice” for social media operators.
Any “information service, system, or access software provider” that permits access by multiple computer users, including library services or universities, is also included in the ban on discriminatory action against users.
The bill specifies that it is unlawful to restrict users “directly, manually, or through the use of an algorithm.” Users’ accounts and their specific content are both covered by the bill.
Companies would be required to give notice to users within 24 hours of suspending their accounts or content, specifying the “authority and basis for the restriction.”
The bill permits civil action in the event of a private party being discriminated against for any of the above reasons. Damages may be awarded to the plaintiff, including actual damages, statutory damages of $50,000 per violation, and $50,000 per “instance of failure to provide timely notice” of the suspension.
Sen. Roger Chamberlain, R-Lino Lakes, authored the bill alongside Republican Sens. Andrew Mathews, Princeton; Carrie Ruud, Breezy Point; Mary Kiffmeyer, Big Lake; and Paul Gazelka, Nisswa.
Center of the American Experiment President and Power Line co-founder John Hinderaker helped write the bill. Hinderaker noted in an article that one effective way to stop “this suppression of conservative speech … is through action at the state level.”
“These seemingly coordinated efforts represent by far the biggest threat to free speech in America today,” Hinderaker said of Big Tech’s censorship of conservatives.
Several other states are taking similar action against Big Tech, including Florida, Iowa, and Texas, by introducing legislation similar to Minnesota’s SF 1253.
“As these companies have grown and their influence has expanded, Big Tech has come to look more like Big Brother with each passing day,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott spoke out against Big Tech as well, saying he is working on a bill to prohibit tech organizations from “canceling conservative speech.”