Content Moderation

07/28/2021

Energy and Commerce Draft Bills Need Refining Or Will Drown Out Americans Online

Carl Szabo
Carl Szabo Vice President and General Counsel

Debates about what stories should be allowed and where have existed long before Americans used the internet to share news and views. And thanks to our First Amendment, we can protect our personal rights to free speech while also pushing awful but lawful speech out of our sight.

 

Today’s package of draft bills from House Energy & Commerce joins in America’s rich tradition of debate and discussion. And while NetChoice disagrees with many of the provisions in the draft bills, NetChoice also recognizes the Representatives’ effort to remain open-minded and solicit public input.

 

“While we disagree with most of the ideas put forward, we commend Committee Republicans for engaging the public, inviting feedback from stakeholders, and keeping an open mind. Their approach contrasts with the secretive strategy employed last month by the House Judiciary Committee, which solicited feedback on draft antitrust bills from only select special interests,” said Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at NetChoice. “That said, the proof will be in the pudding: how lawmakers respond to and incorporate feedback will matter just as much as the process of soliciting it.”

“At present, the package includes contradictory and counterproductive requirements that would stifle free speech, micromanage businesses, erect new barriers to online innovation and competition, and ignore the millions of small businesses that use popular websites to reach consumers across the country,” continued Szabo. “For example, by stripping Section 230 protections the bills would leave most Americans with an internet experience that either doesn’t easily allow user-created content or empowers indecent bad actors to drown out American voices.”

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