Fight Social Media Censorship by Suing for Discrimination, Think Tank Head Urges

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The Epoch Times

The best way to fight social media censorship is to promote model state legislation all across the country that gives users the right to sue when a tech platform engages in discrimination, John Hinderaker, president of Minnesota’s Center for the American Experiment, told The Epoch Times in an exclusive interview.

In a July 30 column at the Power Line blog, Hinderaker contends that creating a private cause of action allowing users to sue when a social media platform practices viewpoint discrimination, instead of diving deep into the minutiae of Section 230 of the federal Communications Decency Act (CDA) as many conservatives favor, could help restore free speech in social media.

Section 230 of the 1996 statute shields internet service providers and other online entities from being held liable for what others say and do, creating “a broad protection that has allowed innovation and free speech online to flourish,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Hinderaker writes that “the basic idea” behind his right-to-sue model legislation “is to ban discrimination in the moderation of content on social media sites on the basis of race, sex, religion, or political orientation.”

“Our freedoms are under threat as they have not been in a very long time. The question is, what to do about it. Private action is appropriate; we should support non-leftist alternatives to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, for example. But that is not going to be good enough,” Hinderaker writes.

“These tech companies cannot afford to keep getting sued, particularly if some of the major states like Texas and Florida pass the right kind of legislation,” Hinderaker told The Epoch Times in the interview.

“I really think it’s the one thing that could cause the tech companies to just give it up.”


The beauty of this state legislation is that it is “self-executing,” Hinderaker said, adding such model legislation would provide for statutory minimum damages and allow the recovery of attorneys’ fees.

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