Laying Down the Law! Iowa Legislature Joins Fight Against Big Tech

March 2nd, 2021 4:26 PM

Iowa Republicans have decided to lay down the law against Big Tech censorship and have joined the growing list of state legislatures fighting against abuses by Big Tech.

Republican Iowa State Representatives Jon Jacobsen, Anne Osmundson, and Skyler Wheeler have introduced a bill to discourage and potentially penalize social media platforms that engage in online censorship.

“A dominant social media company shall not affect the ability of a user to create, view, comment, or otherwise interact with content that constitutes constitutionally protected speech on the dominant social media company’s social networking website by limiting, blocking, or otherwise restricting any content on the social networking website or the user’s access to the social networking website,” said the bill, titled “A bill for an act relating to certain companies that censor online content and providing civil penalties.”

Under the bill’s provisions, if an Iowa user is censored online, the social media platform in question must provide a written explanation of the reason or reasons the user was censored “[w]ithin thirty days.” The bill would also impose up to a $100,000 fine for violating the provisions. 

Iowa State Sen. Zach Whiting (R) appeared to enthusiastically support the bill. “Whiting said he was ‘fortunate’ to be the first person to sign on to cosponsor the bill. Facebook, Twitter and the like are not government actors, but Whiting said social media is the new public square,” The Iowa Standard reported. 

Whiting further explained his passion for free speech rights online. “What we have is a de facto end-around the First Amendment by Big Tech groups that are silencing speech they disagree with and that is wrong and it is dangerous to our republic,” Whiting said. “This bill puts these people on notice — stop doing what you’re doing.”

Amazon, for example, removed the book When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment after Amazon deemed it “offensive content.”. YouTube removed LifeSiteNews entirely, and the pro-life organization later claimed that “Google has[d] completely banned our website from Google Ads and Google Ad servers.” YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Reddit, TikTok and even Shopify all banned former President Donald Trump following the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol building.

A growing number of states have begun to take action against Big Tech, and their actions could inspire other states to do the same. North Dakota and Arizona have considered legislation to take action against the dominance of Apple and Google’s app stores. Nebraska introduced legislation to hold Big Tech accountable for censorship, and Florida has been developing similar legislation. The Virginia House of Delegates and New York legislature have each introduced legislation to give consumers more agency over their personal data. Maryland, meanwhile, already passed a tax on digital ad revenue.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.