(RepublicanInformer.com)- A Republican senator has sponsored legislation that would allow users of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to sue if their posts or accounts are censored.
The House Communications and Technology Committee held a hearing on House Bill 5973 on Wednesday, which would prohibit social media firms from removing users by defining the companies as common carriers. The government regulates common carriers such as telephone companies and railroads.
Reports show similar measures were approved in Texas and Florida but were overturned by federal judges because they infringed on the First Amendment rights of social media sites. If the measure passes the committee, House, and Senate, it is quite probable that Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer would veto it.
Supporters of the initiative claim that, like in a real public space, social media sites should allow most expression without restriction. Opponents of the bill argue that it reaches too far into the operations of private companies, reports say.
The rule will affect social media businesses with more than 50 million users, according to Rep. Ryan Berman, R-Commerce Township, who presented the measure and spoke at the committee meeting on Wednesday.
According to Berman, the expulsion of former President Donald Trump from Facebook and Twitter following his posts regarding the January 6, 2021 riot at the US Capitol spurred the measure. According to the platforms, Trump was barred for allegedly applauding those who invaded the US Capitol, according to media reporting.
As a result of restrictions on his accounts, Donald Trump launched his own social networking platform, Truth Social. According to a media report, Truth Social has also banned accounts, but the media did not report the reasons for the bans.
To be covered by the statute, the user must be utilizing the platform in Michigan.
A social media platform may only ban users under the law if a user incites criminal action, such as threats of violence against a group or individual based on their race, color, handicap, religion, national origin or ancestry, age, or sex. Any content relating to the sexual exploitation of children and survivors of sexual abuse would also be permitted to be censored by social media corporations, according to reports.
The House Communications and Technology Committee did not vote on the bill Wednesday but may do so at a later date.