Social media bill passes through state Senate committee

By T. Scott Boatright

The Louisiana Senate’s Commerce, Consumer Protection and International Affairs Committee on Wednesday moved forward a bill that if passed would allow state residents to sue major social media companies that are believed to intentionally delete or censor political or religious speech.

The bill passed by a vote of 4-2

Senate Bill 196 by Sen. Jay Morris, R-West Monroe, is aimed at websites with 75 million members or more, specifically meaning Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. If passed, plaintiffs could claim actual damages and punitive damages up to $75,000.

The bill is a Louisiana version of the Stop Social Media Censorship Act, which 29 states have considered similar legislation for though none have enacted it into law.

Center Square of Louisiana reported that Eric Peterson, who works on technology issues for the Pelican Institute for Public Policy, said the bill would violate Section 230 and the First Amendment of the Constitution and could also affect other social medias like eBay and Shopify that might not want to host anything dealing with any kind of political commentary.

“They have the right to edit their content as they see fit,” Center Square reported Peterson as saying.

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