Hagerty, Rubio, Colleagues Reintroduce Legislation to Halt Big Tech and Government Censorship

July 17, 2023

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) joined Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), along with Senators Ron Johnson (R-WI), Rick Scott (R-FL), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and JD Vance (R-OH), in reintroducing the PRESERVE Online Speech Act, legislation that combats censorship coordination between Big Tech companies and governments by requiring technology companies to disclose any U.S. or foreign government requests or recommendations regarding content moderation.

“The American people deserve to know if their government is using big tech companies to end-run the First Amendment and censor speech,” said Senator Hagerty. “I’m pleased to co-sponsor Senator Rubio’s legislation to require transparency and ensure that the government cannot work secretly to censor Americans.”

“If the government is working with Big Tech to censor freedom of speech, the American public deserves to know,” said Senator Rubio. “Transparency is essential to protecting our First Amendment. That’s why I’m introducing legislation to require the government to disclose any requests or pressure it makes to tech companies to censor speech.”

Specifically, the PRESERVE Online Speech Act would:

  • Require internet companies to publicly disclose within seven days any government (U.S. or foreign) request to moderate content outside of a law enforcement proceeding and detail any action taken as a result.
  • Levy a daily fine of $50,000 on non-compliant firms. These funds are directed to the FCC to provide rural broadband access. 
  • Require the FCC to submit an annual report to Congress covering all government censorship requests that year and actions taken as a result.

In May 2023, Hagerty also reintroduced his Disclose Government Censorship Act, which seeks to end government-directed speech suppression and viewpoint censorship by requiring basic transparency regarding when Americans’ government is attempting to control what they can say or read. Last week, Democrats blocked passage of this legislation on the Senate floor for the second time.

Full text of the PRESERVE Online Speech Act can be found here.