U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert takes aim at the world’s biggest social media platforms in a bill filed near the end of the last session that would treat Facebook, Twitter and Google like publishers subject to being sued over what users post online.
House Resolution 7363, which was filed in late December in the 115th Congress and will be renumbered once Gohmert refiles it in the newly convened 116th Congress, targets social media companies’ use of filtering software that he says amplifies liberal voices and stifles conservative points of view.
“Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google are now among the largest and most powerful companies in the world,” Gohmert, R-Tyler, wrote in announcing his bill. “More and more people are turning to a social media platform for news than ever before, arguably making these companies more powerful than traditional media outlets.”
Yet, he said, social media companies enjoy protection from lawsuits that traditional media do not. Gohmert said his measure — called the Biased Algorithm Deterrence Act — amends the Communications Act of 1934 to allow lawsuits to go forward against social media platforms when they manipulate software to ensure certain voices rise to the top of newsfeeds.
He said deliberate filtering, called “algorithmic bias,” favors liberal points of view. Meanwhile, he said, executives of the companies maintain they are neutral platforms “ ... in order to obtain their immunity” from lawsuits.
“In one hearing, one of the internet social media executives indicated a desire to be treated like Fox News,” Gohmert wrote. “Fox News does not have their immunity, and this bill will fulfill that unwitting request. ... It’s time for the social media companies to be (as) liable for any biased or unethical impropriety of their employees as any other media company.”