Countering Big Tech censorship through state legislation, Part One

It’s obvious that, as Scott has been documenting, Big Tech is engaged in a concerted effort to censor conservatives. It seeks to prevent us from presenting our ideas to the public on an equal basis with liberals, left-liberals, and even the most extreme leftists.

How can we counter this? The First Amendment doesn’t forbid censorship by private corporations. The Democratic Congress isn’t going to go to bat for free speech by conservatives. Neither will the Biden/Harris administration. Antitrust litigation might provide a remedy at the end of a very long struggle, but it might not.

A reader and distinguished lawyer has offered an approach to fighting back that I believe merits very serious consideration — state legislation banning viewpoint discrimination by Big Tech. He writes:

States can bar large social media platforms and online service providers from discriminating against their state’s residents based on their lawful political statements or affiliations. Such laws could even allow Big Tech to continue deleting dangerous material, etc. if they wanted–so long as the standards were applied neutrally across the political spectrum. That way, someone could sue for ideological discrimination, and if they presented evidence of a similarly “problematic” account or tweet that was not deleted, they could prevail in court.

This would effectively stop the ideological purge in its tracks, as Big Tech steadfastly allows a lot of horrific tweets to remain online, as long as they are not from American conservatives. If states created a private right of action, statutory standing and penalties, and attorney’s fees awards for successful plaintiffs, Big Tech would likely have to surrender.

Such statutes are not uncommon. California, for example, routinely passes privacy, employment, and other laws with similar enforcement mechanisms against international companies. And on the international scene, by way of further example, Poland is about to enact a law imposing significant fines (up to $2.2 million) for social media platforms [that] censor lawful speech.

I think this is a realistic solution that would end the purge now, even before Republicans regain Congress.

I think so, too. Republicans are ascendant in many states.

More on this idea to come.

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