Given that they boast user numbers in the tens of millions and yearly revenues far beyond that, it's tough to deny the influence of websites like Facebook and Twitter.
However, many politically-minded users feel that this influence is being wielded unfairly. Specifically, several prominent right-leaning users on Twitter and Facebook have seen their posts or accounts deleted, for reasons that they feel stem from political biases.
One Florida senator has lost his patience with such practices and decided to take matters into his own hands. Republican Joe Gruters has introduced Senate Bill 1722, which he refers to as the "Stop Social Media Censorship Act."
The Act may enable Florida's Attorney General to hit social media websites with $75,000 fines if they censor users for "hate speech" or other subjective reasons.
The Act may enable Florida's Attorney General to hit social media websites with $75,000 fines if they censor users for "hate speech" or other subjective reasons. This punishment would only apply to social media websites with 75 million users or more.
While we encourage you to at least skim over the full bill, Gruters summarizes his proposal as follows:
Citing this act as the "Stop Social Media Censorship Act"; providing that the owner or operator of a social media website is subject to a private right of action by a social media website user in this state under certain conditions; prohibiting a social media website from using hate speech as a defense; authorizing the Attorney General to bring an action on behalf of a social media website user, etc.
It remains to be seen how much support this bill will garner in the long run, but given how heated the censorship debate has gotten in recent months, it's almost certain to generate quite a bit of discussion; no matter which side of the political divide you fall on.