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Another Anti-Section 230 Bill? Sure, Why Not?

DATE POSTED:October 16, 2020

Because there haven't already been enough attempts by Congress this year to attack free speech on the internet, here's another one. Rep. Ted Budd has introduced yet another bill to wipe out Section 230 and undermine free speech online. Of course, he's really just putting his House stamp on the ridiculous and unconstitutional Senate bill released earlier this year by Senators Hawley, Rubio, Loeffler, Cotton and Braun that we took apart at the time. I'm not going to go over all the reasons the bill is ridiculous and unconstitutional. We covered that when it was released in the Senate.

But Budd's "statement" about the bill deserves to be picked apart because it's utter lunacy.

“Recent acts of political censorship by Twitter and Facebook are a disgrace. Big Tech bias has gone too far in suffocating the voices of conservatives across our country. If these companies want to continue to receive legal protection, they should be forced to play by a fair set of rules in good faith. I’m extremely proud to join Sen. Hawley in this fight.”

Everything about this is wrong. Twitter and Facebook are not "censoring." They are moderating. They are saying there is certain speech they don't want to host, and this is their right, just like Fox News or the NY Post get to spew one sided news and the government cannot do anything about it. But they can't demand that other private companies help them promote that nonsense. That's not censorship. It's moderation or discretion. And it's protected by the 1st Amendment. You know, the thing that Rep. Budd swore to protect and uphold.

Imagine if Congress introduced a bill saying that Fox News actually had to be "fair and balanced" and be more positive towards Democrats and Joe Biden. Republicans like Budd would be screaming about how that was an unfair and unconstitutional infringement of Fox News' 1st Amendment rights. And they'd be right. But the desire to ignore all that and compel speech from social media companies just demonstrates that elected officials like Budd are not coming from a place of principled support of the Constitution or free speech. Rather they are pathetic simpletons who think that they can abuse their power to force companies to promote their bullshit.

That's not how it works, and we shouldn't let grifters in Congress get away with pushing such nonsense. Rep. Budd should be ashamed that he's shitting all over the 1st Amendment while pretending to support free speech. His constituents should think deeply about why they've elected someone so willing to sell out the 1st Amendment.