07.14.21

Daines Introduces Bill to Counter Big Tech’s Bias, Protect Political Speech & Beliefs of Users

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today introduced a bill to crack down on big tech and online platforms’ ability to discriminate against users based on their political speech and beliefs. Daines’ bill would enforce equal access to political candidates on online platforms as well as create a provision to prohibit the removal of content based on political beliefs.  

“The Big Tech oligarchs have been using their influence and power to tip the scales in our democracy and it must stop,” Daines stated. “Social media platforms are the self-proclaimed arbiters of free speech—deciding what is and what isn’t acceptable. It’s outrageous that social media platforms allow the Ayatollah to openly call for violence against Israel but have silenced, and continue to silence, President Trump. This bill protects the exchange of ideas and political speech, regardless of your political beliefs, by applying long established principles to the modern digital era.”

Daines’ “Preserving Political Speech Online Act” will:

  • Require the FTC to initiate a rulemaking to require online platforms and third-party advertisers to follow fair access and equal opportunity rules including: 

o    If an online platform permits a federal candidate to advertise they must allow all other candidates for the same office equal opportunity to advertise

o    The rates must be comparable for all candidates for the same office

o    An online platform may not censor any advertisement for a candidate

  • Require online platforms to maintain and make publicly available a complete record of political advertising purchases.
  • Require the FCC to initiate a rule making to apply the existing Section 315 laws to all licensees that engage in political advertising.
  • Update the ‘good faith’ provision in Section 230 to ensure that platforms can remove truly offensive material or material that promotes illegal activity. 
  • Create a new ‘bad faith’ provision that prohibits the removal of content based on the grounds of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or political affiliation or speech. 
  • Exempt from the ‘bad faith’ provision platforms that operate services dedicated to a specific set of issues or beliefs. 

For bill text, click HERE.

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler