The House approved legislation on Thursday that forbids workers of federal agencies from attempting to persuade social media companies to censor, limit, or add disclaimers to legal remarks.
Republicans supported it by a vote of 219 to 206, while Democrats abstained.
In reaction to Twitter briefly restricting links to a New York Post article concerning Hunter Biden’s laptop, Rep. James Comer, R-Kentucky, sponsored the measure.
We have the First Amendment for a very good reason, so the federal government shouldn’t be able to decide what is and isn’t permissible expression, according to Comer.
Democrats, however, claimed that there was no proof that FBI agents or other government officials were involved in the platform’s decision to prohibit connections to the laptop story during a hearing with former Twitter executives held by the House Oversight and Accountability Committee in February.
Prospects for the bill in the Senate under Democratic control are unclear.
What were the House’s arguments regarding government meddling in social media?
Republicans claimed that social media corporations should publish any authorised speech, even if it raises controversial topics like sickness treatments or election results. Democrats countered that the bill wasn’t necessary and cited former Twitter officials who claimed that the FBI didn’t call for the laptop story to be suppressed.
Why is social media such a focus for Republicans?
Due to worries that social media companies restrict conservative perspectives, House Republicans have concentrated their investigative attention there.
Additional panels have looked into the repression of claims of 2020 election fraud as well as the causes and management of COVID-19. Following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Twitter and Facebook both blocked former president Donald Trump, but both have since given him access again.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, summoned key executives from Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Meta to testify over the alleged repression of conservatives. Jordan wants to know if the FBI or other government agencies pressured for-profit businesses like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to discourage or ban users who are conservative.
Because to worries that the Chinese app could be gathering information on users in the United States, the House Foreign Affairs Committee adopted legislation empowering the president to prohibit TikTok.