WASHINGTON—Today, Republican Study Chairman Jim Banks and 8 RSC members introduced the Stop Shielding Culpable Platforms Act. The bill would remove Section 230’s liability protections from Big Tech platforms when they knowingly share illegal and harmful content.
Said RSC Chairman Rep. Jim Banks: “Tyranny means knowingly breaking the law without fear of legal repercussions. No wonder Big Tech feels empowered to ban the President of the United States, supposedly to protect their users, while turning a blind eye to child pornography. Section 230 has placed them outside and above the law. It’s past time for Congress to roll back Section 230’s most egregious and expansive special legal protections. Republican Study’s bill is a good place to start.”
Said Rep. Andy Barr: “Social media companies have long been able to hide behind a misinterpretation of Section 230 that enables them to knowingly share illicit content on their platforms without liability. The Stop Shielding Culpable Platforms Act ensures that when social media companies know of the harmful and illegal content that is shared on their platform, they can be held liable.”
Said Rep. Brian Babin: “For too long, Big Tech has been allowed to break our laws with zero consequences. Congress must act now to roll back Section 230, so that these platforms are finally held accountable for their actions. This bill is a much-needed first step.”
Said Rep. Dan Bishop: “Big Tech has monopolized free speech markets, hand picking who can exercise First Amendment rights while ignoring egregious content for personal gain. Our laws must prioritize preserving Americans’ right to Free Speech. When an institution or organization wields the power to censor duly elected officials and cancel individuals without recourse, there is a problem. I am proud to join this effort and am grateful to Rep. Jim Banks for leading this bill.”
Said Rep. Bob Gibbs: “Big tech and social media have been hiding behind Section 230 of the CDA to justify the censorship of law-abiding Americans in the name of protecting the public, while at the same time protecting illegal and illicit activities on their platforms like child pornography and racial discrimination. The Stop Shielding Culpable Platforms Act makes it clear that if a platform knowingly shares illegal content, they will face the necessary consequences as a distributor of content and can no longer rely on the protections of Section 230.”
Said Rep. Guy Reschenthaler: “Big Tech companies are blatantly abusing Section 230 legal protections, not just to censor individuals or content, but to make themselves invincible from knowingly distributing illegal content such as child pornography. Twitter did not take down a child pornography video even after the victim notified them. I am appalled that Twitter has no problem with censoring conservative posts and removing individuals, including the President of the United States, but fails to remove child pornography. I am proud to join my Republican colleagues to take action and stop Big Tech’s dangerous and harmful overreach by introducing the Stop Shielding Culpable Platforms Act.”
RSC released a memorandum in January about reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has criticized lower courts’ broad interpretation of Section 230 that extended its legal shield to platforms that knowingly sharing illegal content.
Rep. Tom Tiffany (WI-07)
Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14)
Rep. Andy Barr (KY-06)
Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-05)
Rep. Randy Weber (TX-14)
Rep. Dan Bishop (NC-9)
Rep. Brian Babin (TX-36)
Rep. Bob Gibbs (OH-7)
The Stop Shielding Culpable Platforms Act is endorsed by the American Principles Project and received a statement of support from the Internet Accountability Project.
APP President Terry Schilling said: "The federal government shouldn't be preventing victims of sexual exploitation from suing their exploiters. But under Section 230, online platforms that knowingly allow illicit content or engage in illegal activity are granted immunity from civil liability. This is a terrible wrong that must be corrected. We applaud RSC Chairman Banks for taking the lead on this important issue. Any Section 230 reform passed into law should include language that would give victims of sexual exploitation the right to their day in court."
Internet Accountability Project President Mike Davis said: “IAP applauds Chairman Banks for his leadership in holding Big Tech accountable, and we look forward to working with him as this important legislation works its way through Congress.”