Choosing not to let the crisis of the lab leak theory go to waste, several Senate republicans led by Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, are pushing to pass a bill that will ensure Big Tech is held accountable for anti-speech behavior, especially as it relates to stories about how the COVID virus originated.
Calling tech censorship “a serious, grave threat to freedom and the open exchange of ideas under our constitution,” Wicker announced legislation Thursday called the Promoting Rights and Online Speech Protections to Ensure Every Consumer is Heard (PRO-SPEECH) Act that seeks to “prohibit Big Tech from engaging in unfair, deceptive, or anti-competitive practices that limit or control online speech.”
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— Senate Commerce Republicans (@SenateCommerce) June 10, 2021
Wicker’s release describing the act laid out the goals of the legislation, which encompasses not just speech but addresses anti-competitive behavior in general.
“The big social media companies continue to abuse their market power by censoring content, suppressing certain viewpoints, and prioritizing favored political speech,” said Wicker. “My bill would put safeguards in place to preserve internet freedom, promote competition, and protect consumers from these blatantly biased practices. It is time for Congress to act to ensure the internet can be an open forum where diverse views are expressed.”
The PRO-SPEECH Act would:
Preserve consumers’ ability to access lawful content, applications, services, or devices that do not interfere with an internet platform’s functionality or pose a data privacy or data security risk to a user; Prohibit internet platforms from taking any actions against users based on racial, sexual, religious, partisan, or ethnic grounds; Prohibit large internet platforms from blocking or discriminating against competing internet platforms by declaring such actions presumptively anti-competitive; Require an internet platform to disclose to the public accurate information regarding the platform management practices, performance characteristics, and commercial terms of service of any app store, cloud computing service, operating system, search
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