Ohio state lawmaker introduces bill aimed at curtailing social media censorship

Legislation would prohibit Big Tech from censoring Ohioans without notifying the user and offering an appeal process.
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The Ohio State House, 2018
The Ohio State House, 2018
(SOPA Images/Getty)

Social media companies would not be allowed to censor Ohioans from expressing their views without notifying the user and offering an appeal process or risk being sued under a proposed bill.

Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, said he plans to introduce legislation that prohibits social media platforms from censoring users unless statements violate state or federal law.

“With social media being a quintessential form of communication these days, this bill is to ensure people’s Constitutional right to freedom of speech is not infringed on,” Cutrona said in a news release. “As Americans, obviously we are not all going to agree with one another on thoughts and ideas, and that’s okay. But it’s surely not the job of Big Tech employees to choose favorites on what deserves censorship based on ambiguous policies and their personal views.”

Cutrona said recent polling has shown the majority of Americans support regulating big tech companies, and he said he has heard concerns about social media platforms banning former President Donald Trump, while allowing Taliban social media accounts to continue.

The proposed legislation would:

• Prohibit social media platforms from censoring a user based on the ideas they express, unless the statements violate state or federal law;

• Require a social media platform to notify the user content was removed and the reason for removal. The platform then must provide a chance for individuals to appeal;

• Ask platforms to publicly disclose accurate information in regards to their content management, data management and business practices;

• Allow a user to file a complaint with the attorney general’s office and seek an injunction if a platform violates the provisions of the bill;

• Allow a platform to be held in contempt of court.

Cutrona said 29 other states have introduced similar legislation.

“These monopolized Big Tech platforms should have the power to dictate what they deem as acceptable speech, that’s exactly why we have the First Amendment and why I’m introducing this legislation,” Cutrona said.