E&C Republicans Announce Next Phase of Their Effort to Hold Big Tech Accountable

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Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers issued the following statement on a comprehensive package of discussion draft bills to hold Big Tech accountable by improving transparency and content moderation accountability, reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, promoting competition, and preventing illegal and harmful activity on their platforms. 

“Big Tech has failed to promote the battle of ideas and free speech by censoring political viewpoints they disagree with. They also don’t do enough to keep our children safe or address illegal content on their platforms. Big Tech has broken our trust that they can be good and responsible stewards of their platforms.  Today, Energy and Commerce Republicans are building on our leadership to hold Big Tech accountable.  

“Guided by our Big Tech Accountability Platform, we are releasing discussion draft bills for Big Tech to be transparent, uphold American values for free speech, and stop their abuse of power that is harming our children. Our goal is for these drafts to lead to concrete legislation. Every Republican member of the Energy and Commerce Committee is leading on solutions, and I’m grateful for their hard work to drive meaningful and needed change.” — Cathy McMorris Rodgers

To hold Big Tech accountable, Energy and Commerce Republicans unveiled solutions that will address: 

Section 230 Reform 

  • Preserving constitutionally protected speech, led by Republican Leaders Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Jim Jordan (R-OH), to remove liability protections for companies who censor constitutionally protected speech on their platforms, require appeals processes, and transparency for content enforcement decisions.   
  • Bad Samaritan carve out, led by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections from companies that act as Bad Samaritans and knowingly promote, solicit, or facilitate illegal activity.   
  • Chinese Communist Party carve out, led by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), to exclude companies with direct or indirect ties to the Chinese Communist Party from section 230 .  
  • Nondiscrimination carve out, led by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), to remove liability protections from companies who take action based on a user’s racial, sexual, political affiliation, or ethnic grounds.   
  • FTC exemption, led by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for actions brought against a company by the FTC.   
  • Cyberbullying carve out, led by Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for claims based on cyberbullying.   
  • Doxxing carve out, led by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for claims based on doxxing.  
  • Terrorism carve out, led by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for claims based on foreign terrorism content.   
  • Child exploitation, including pornography carve out, led by Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for claims based on child exploitation, including child pornography.  
  • Counterfeit products carve out, led by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for claims related to counterfeit products.  
  • Illegal drugs carve out, led by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), to amend section 230 to remove liability protections for claims based on the illegal sale of drugs and the sale of illegal drugs.  
  • Product liability carve out, led by Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND), to preserve claims relating to product liability, for any instance in which an interactive computer service has physical possession or control of a product at issue. 

Content Moderation Practices to Address Certain Content 

  • Lawful content protection, led by Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), to prevent companies from blocking or preventing access to lawful content, as well as degrading or impairing access to such content. 
  • Content moderation on child pornography, led by Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address child pornography.   
  • Content moderation on counterfeit and stolen products, led by Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address the sale of counterfeit and stolen products. 
  • Content moderation on illegal drugs, led by Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address the illegal sale of drugs and the sale of illegal drugs.  
  • Content moderation on terrorism, led by Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address foreign terrorism content.   
  • Content moderation on child trafficking, led by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address child trafficking.  
  • Content moderation on cyberbullying, led by Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address cyberbullying.  
  • Content moderation on revenge porn, led by Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address revenge porn.   
  • Content moderation on doxxing, led by Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA), to require companies to implement reasonable content moderation practices to address doxxing. 

Protecting Children from Mental Health Harms and Cyberbullying 

  • Process for parents to protect their kids, led by Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), to require companies to maintain a user-friendly process for parents to report cyberbullying.   
  • Mental health impact disclosure, led by Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), to require companies to disclose the mental health impact on their products and services have on children and  a NIH study to review whether warning labels about such risks should be required on such products and services.   
  • Consumer education on mental health effects, led by Rep. Neal Dunn (R-FL), to require the NIH and FTC to develop an annual education campaign about the mental health risks of social media.   

Improving Transparency 

  • Content policies, led by Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), to require companies to disclose how they develop their content moderation policies.  
  • Appeals policies, led by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), to require companies to disclose how they develop their appeals processes.   
  • App Store policies, led by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), to require companies to disclose how they develop and implement their app store policies.   
  • Content enforcement, led by Rep. Latta (R-OH), to require companies to disclose their content enforcement decisions related to child pornography, child trafficking, cyberbullying, illegal sale of drugs, foreign terrorism content, counterfeit products, revenge porn, and doxxing.   

Additional Accountability Bills 

  • Law enforcement study, led by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), to direct the GAO to conduct a study on how platforms can better work with law enforcement to address illegal content and crimes on their platforms.  
  • Consumer education on law enforcement, led by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), to require annual education campaigns to inform the public about the resources available to them when their safety and security have been violated online.  
  • Universal Service Fund Contributions, led by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), to require a study on the feasibility of requiring Big Tech to contribute to the Universal Service Fund.  
  • ID verification, led by Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), to require social media companies to require verification of the identity of users prior to use of their platform. 

CLICK HERE for more information on Energy and Commerce Republican efforts to hold Big Tech accountable.  

CLICK HERE to read the Big Tech Accountability Platform.  

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