The COLLUDE Act is Senator Schmitt’s continuation of his work as Attorney General of Missouri to expose the “censorship enterprise” between Big Tech and the federal government
WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Eric Schmitt introduced the Curtailing Online Limitations that Lead Unconstitutionally to Democracy’s Erosion (COLLUDE) Act, in order to halt the collusion between big tech and the federal government which has led to censoring Americans’ speech:
“Big Tech overlords have no business acting as censors on behalf of the federal government, and accountability is coming for those who sought to silence those whom they disagreed with. My COLLUDE Act puts Section 230 protections on the line for large tech companies who censor free speech at the behest of the federal government,” said Senator Eric Schmitt. “Freedom of speech is a foundational aspect of our republic and must be jealously guarded. I exposed this collusion when I was Missouri’s Attorney General, and now as a U.S. Senator, I’m taking the first action to put a stop to the collusion and censorship.”
- The COLLUDE Act prevents Big Tech companies from colluding with government to censor free speech, by stripping them of their Section 230 protection if they commit such actions.
- Specifically, the bill:
- Amends Section 230 to stop this collusion
- Modifies Section 230(c) to eliminate Section 230 immunities for Big Tech companies if the company censors speech due to a request or demand from a governmental entity OR a non-governmental entity that is acting at the request of a governmental entity.
- The request or demand must be sent to the Big Tech company only to trigger this provision. The provision would not impact if there are changes made due to publicly available data.
- The provision covers communications from both governmental and non-governmental entities working on behalf of the government to ensure censorship will not be routed by the federal government to big tech companies through non-profits.
- Provides an exception to this provision for a legitimate law enforcement or national security purpose.
- Section 230 provides a safe harbor for Big Tech companies, so they are not legally liable for user-posted content on their respective platform. When enacted in 1996, the purpose of Section 230 was to treat Big Tech companies as distributors or platforms for users’ content. However, theMissouri v. Biden case has exposed that Big Tech companies are colluding with the federal government and have promoted, removed, suppressed, and limited the visibility of specific viewpoints.
- In his previous role as Missouri’s Attorney General, Sen. Schmitt filed suit against the Biden Administration for violating the First Amendment by colluding with Big Tech companies to suppress opposing viewpoints. The lawsuit—Missouri v. Biden—exposed a vast “censorship enterprise.”
- During the discovery process, Sen. Schmitt exposed communications between senior Biden White House officials and Big Tech companies, in which the Administration relentlessly pressured social media companies to remove posts or accounts and more strictly censor speech related to certain topics.
- Some of these communications included:
- “Please remove this account immediately.”
- “And while the product safari has been interesting, at the end of the day, I care mostly about what actions and changes you’re making to ensure you’re not making our country’s vaccine hesitancy problem worse.”
- “Would you mind looking at this video and helping us with next steps to put a label or remove it”
- A senior Facebook official emailed the U.S. Surgeon General writing: “I know our teams met today to better understand the scope of what the White House expects from us on misinformation going forward.”
- Another email from a Facebook official to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services contained: “We are making it easier to have Pages / Groups / Accounts demoted for sharing COVID and vaccine-related misinformation by also counting content removals under our COVID and vaccine-related Community Standard violations toward their demotion threshold.”
- The CDC proposed a monthly debunking meeting with Facebook to help them censor speech.
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