American Principles Project: Dismantling Censorship Needs to Be Priority #1 of Tech Reform

March 22nd, 2022 4:04 PM

Conservatives should pare down the several pending Big Tech reform bills into one or two pieces of legislation that can garner broad support if/when Republicans win control of Congress.

That’s according to American Principles Project (APP) Policy and Government Affairs Director Jon Schweppe, who spoke yesterday during a Media Research Center Big Tech briefing to congressional staffers.

“There are a lot of ways to skin the cat,” said Schweppe, who was speaking at the Conservative Partnership Institute on Capitol Hill. “We’ve got to make sure we do it the right way. We’re only going to get one or two bites at this apple.”

APP has said Big Tech reform legislation must require Facebook and Twitter to unconditionally allow former President Donald Trump on their platforms, prevent tech companies from interfering in future elections, and require platforms to greenlight conservative advocacy of political positions that “depart from politically correct orthodoxy,” according to a policy blueprint APP released in July.

“The one that everyone’s running into right now – we’ve all seen it – you cannot say on Twitter that Lia Thomas is a dude,” Schweppe said.

He was referencing a transgender swimmer who won the NCAA Division I women’s 500-yard freestyle.

Rep. Greg Steube’s (R-FL) Curbing Abuse and Saving Expression in Technology (CASE-IT) Act is the active bill most aligned with APP’s framework, Schweppe said.

The bill would strip market-dominant Big Tech companies’ unconditional immunity from civil liability, providing legal immunity only if these companies moderate content in line with the First Amendment, the APP noted in a positive vote recommendation for the legislation.

The CASE-IT Act would also give Americans a private right to legal action to ensure Big Tech companies don’t censor speech protected under the First Amendment in the public square. Additionally, the bill would preclude liability from being extended to companies that allow illicit sexual contact between adults and minors or that contribute to illegal online content, according to APP.

Facebook has allowed child exploitation content and groups to propagate on the platform unfettered, according to a recent report by WIRED.

As platforms apparently permit illicit content to fester, Big Tech censorship continues to take many forms, MRC staff writer/researcher/video editor Tierin-Rose Mandelburg explained during the MRC Capitol Hill event.

Deleted content, fact-checks, restrictions on accounts, content filters, suspension and bans are a few of the tactics Big Tech uses to suppress speech, Mandelburg said.

“Big Tech censorship is the left’s newest and most aggressive weapon,” she said. “It’s extremely biased, and it interferes with what information we are and are not granted access to.”

Mandelburg invited people who have been censored to share stories of their censorship using the CensorTrack contact form.

CensorTrack is an MRC database that tracks instances of censorship across social media. Since its creation in March 2020, the database has cataloged over 3,500 total instances.

“When someone gets censored, it’s not just that individual or that entity,” MRC Free Speech Managing Editor Michael Morris said during the event. “It’s anyone that wants to have a conversation or communication with that post, or with that individual’s speech.”

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand they hold Big Tech to account to mirror the First Amendment.