Hagerty Introduces Bill to Combat Big Tech Censorship; Treat Big Tech Corporations as Common Carriers

April 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) has introduced the 21st Century Foundation for the Right to Express and Engage in Speech Act. The 21st Century FREE Speech Act puts the American people, rather than Big Tech corporations, in charge of what they say or hear in today’s public square.

“Americans today communicate and consume information using dominant, ubiquitous technology platforms that function as common carriers,” Senator Hagerty said. “Yet, instead of being accountable to the people, this public square is owned by Big Tech corporations that use opaque, inconsistent practices to control the information presented to and discussed by the American people. For too long, Americans have watched Big Tech abandon the foundational American principles reflected in the First Amendment—free speech, freedom of thought and belief, free assembly, and the open exchange of ideas. That’s why I’ve introduced the 21st Century FREE Speech Act, which puts the American people—rather than Big Tech corporations—in charge of what they say or hear in today’s public square.”

Hagerty’s legislation: (1) abolishes Section 230 in favor of narrower liability protection that reflects its original purpose and that cannot be used as a license for politically-biased censorship; (2) updates common-carrier laws in light of Big Tech’s role as today’s dominant communications platforms to ensure that Americans have reasonable, non-discriminatory access to the largest tech platforms; (3) requires Big Tech to disclose its content moderation practices to users, so that American consumers understand and control the information they receive; and (4) prohibits political censorship by Big Tech corporations.