Facebook, Twitter and other tech companies took an unprecedented step last year when they banned a sitting U.S. president from their platforms in the wake of the attack on the Capitol. Since that day, Republican legislators in more than half the country have introduced their own unprecedented wave of bills that aim to prevent tech platforms from taking that very kind of action.
According to an analysis by the Chamber of Progress, a tech industry lobbying group, lawmakers in 33 states have introduced anti-content moderation bills over the last year. In Florida and Texas, those bills have been successfully signed into law, though their implementation has been blocked by the courts. In five other states, these bills have passed out of at least one chamber of the state legislature.
Anti-content moderation bills have been introduced in more than half of U.S. states.Image: Chamber of Progress
These bills would impose an array of punishments and prohibitions on tech platforms that attempt to remove content or ban individual users. Often framed as anti-censorship bills, however, they've repeatedly run headlong into the First Amendment themselves. “While most of these attempts don’t pass constitutional muster, it’s troubling that GOP lawmakers are so determined to stop platforms from countering extremism," Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich, who previously led Google's policy team, said in a statement.