Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri announced Wednesday that he is introducing a bill aimed at fighting bad-acting tech companies hours after Google threatened a conservative publication with demonetization.
The Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, co-sponsored by Republican Reps. Marco Rubio of Florida, Mike Braun of Indiana and Tom Cotton of Arkansas, would prevent big tech companies from receiving Section 230 immunities unless the companies update their terms of service, promise to operate in good faith and pay a $5,000 fine if they violate that promise.
“For too long, Big Tech companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook have used their power to silence political speech from conservatives without any recourse for users,” Hawley said in a statement.
“Section 230 has been stretched and rewritten by courts to give these companies outlandish power over speech without accountability. Congress should act to ensure bad actors are not given a free pass to censor and silence their opponents.”
Hawley’s announcement comes only a day after Google threatened to ban The Federalist and Zero Hedge from its ad platform following an NBC News story claiming that Google had demonetized both conservative outlets.
According to NBC’s report, Google alerted The Federalist that it was planning to block the news site from using Google Ads over comments on an article on protests over the death of George Floyd.
The Federalist was never demonetized.
— Google Communications (@Google_Comms) June 16, 2020
Floyd was a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for roughly nine minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, has been fired and arrested on second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
NBC’s story initially triggered backlash from conservatives, and questions were raised after Google disputed the claim that The Federalist had been removed from the Google Ads platform — though the NBC story had quoted a Google spokesperson who said that both Zero Hedge and The Federalist had been demonetized.
“To be clear, The Federalist is not currently demonetized,” a Google spokesperson confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation on Tuesday.
“We do have strict publisher policies that govern the content ads can run on, which includes comments on the site. This is a longstanding policy.”
NBC has since revised the first half of its story. The latest version of the article includes two statements, the first saying that Google removed “removed both sites’ ability to monetize with Google” and the second saying that “Google backtracked” and that The Federalist “has three days to remove the violations before the ban goes into effect.”
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A version of this article appeared on The Daily Caller News Foundation website.
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