Attorney General Curtis Hill is urging the Federal Communications Commission to help prevent the suppression of political speech on digital platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
In a letter to the FCC, Attorney General Hill — along with the attorneys general of Texas, Louisiana and Missouri — asks the agency to clarify existing rules to safeguard Americans’ freedoms of expressions.
The attorneys general take aim at immunity provisions that seek to enable communications companies to maintain justifiable restrictions on speech. These provisions, the letter states, should assure that “platforms may continue to preserve public spaces free of objectively obscene, harassing, and harmful material without unduly expanding immunity to conduct that tramples core First Amendment speech.”
Too often, the letter states, social media companies have too aggressively regulated speech.
“Unfortunately, examples are legion of online platforms downplaying, editing, or even suppressing political speech that bears no relationship to the traditionally regulated categories of speech,” the letter states. “For instance, Twitter recently ‘fact checked’ a tweet by President Trump warning about the risk of election fraud posed by mail-in ballots. Twitter claimed the tweet was supported by ‘no evidence’ despite the fact that many experts — including signatories to this letter — can validate that claim. YouTube and Facebook, in turn, have removed content — including materials posted by licensed physicians, that, in their view, constitutes ‘misinformation’ about COVID-19.”