Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice, a group that promotes free online expression, said the legislation would run afoul of the First Amendment, constrain social media moderators and go against free market principles cherished by conservatives.
“Not only is this an unnecessary bill, it comes with a panoply of unintended consequences,” said Szabo, who identified himself as a conservative. “And for that reason — and the same reason why every other state who’s considered this bill has not moved forward on it — we ask you not to advance this legislation.”
On the other hand, Sevier argued his bill would protect free discourse while still leaving social media companies at liberty to purge their platforms of pornographic content, calls to violence and posts from fake accounts.
“The state of Utah has a compelling interest to protect the speech of people of all different religions,” he said, raising his voice as he spoke to lawmakers. “The other side doesn’t have a fundamental right to falsely induce people to sign up to use their platforms only to turn around to bully them and punish them because the employees of that company have a different world view.”