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New House bill would fine social media platforms $50K for not removing terrorist accounts

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (Wikimedia Commons)
April 01, 2022

A new U.S. House of Representatives bill, dubbed the No Publicity for Terrorists Act, would allow social media platforms to be fined $50,000 each time they fail to remove terrorist organization and their supporters.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), who introduced the bill on March 3, said the legislation aims to crack down on social media companies who “ban prominent conservative voices” but “allow terrorist organizations, hate groups, and dictators to remain.”

“Big Tech is scared to death of a MAGA reemergence in America. They know they won’t win the argument on policy or politics, so they have moved to silence, deplatform, and ban prominent conservative voices, including President Donald Trump,” Cawthorn told the Washington Free Beacon. “It shows their outrageous bias: They claim President Trump is a danger to public discourse, but allow terrorist organizations, hate groups, and dictators to remain on their platforms? My legislation holds them accountable for their assault on conservatives and exposes their outrageous double standard.”

Cawthorn, along with Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), wrote the legislation to amend current federal law to require social media companies to monitor their platforms and bar any account endorsing extremism. In order to avoid the fine, platforms would have to remove an extremist account within 24 hours of being detected.

“There is no excuse or justification for Big Tech to give known terrorists a dangerous platform,” Good said in a statement. “This is especially egregious given Big Tech’s track record of regularly and unjustifiably censoring conservative voices like President Trump, and Members of Congress.”

The bill also requires social media firms to file quarterly reports with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Failure to do so could result in fines or imprisonment.

Last year, Twitter banned then-President Donald Trump due to an allegedly high “risk of further incitement of violence” following the January 6 storming of Capitol Hill.

“The use of the words ‘American Patriots’ to describe some of his supporters is also being interpreted as support for those committing violent acts at the US Capitol,” Twitter said in a statement at the time regarding Trump’s ban.

Trump predicted the move would be “catastrophic” for the social media companies, asserting that they were further dividing Americans during an already tense time.

“It believe it’s going to be a catastrophic mistake for them. They’re dividing and divisive and they’re showing something that I’ve been predicting for a long time,” Trump said. “I’ve been predicting it for a long time and people didn’t act on it. But I think Big Tech has made a terrible mistake. And very, very bad for our country.”