Arizona introduces bill to treat social media companies like publishers

If House Bill 2180 becomes law, social media users will be able to go after big social media companies legally. For now, these companies are protected by law against any civil liability.
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Arizona lawmakers introduced a house bill to treat large social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook like publishers, especially when the companies censor content on their website.

House Bill 2180 — submitted by representative Mark Finchem, Senate Majority Whip Sonny Borreli and co-sponsored by House Majority Whip Leo Biasiucci — will target the United States Code Section 230, which protects social media companies from civil liability for what is posted on their website. The bill asks social media companies to be treated as publishers and held accountable for their websites’ content. 

Section 230 also protects companies from liability for restricting content posted by users. Bill 2180 seeks for a distinction between neutral platform and publisher. 

If the bill becomes law, it will allow users to seek legal action against social media companies. This bill was introduced after former President Donal Trump was permanently removed from several social media platforms in the wake of  US Capitol riots that left five people dead. Trump was quickly removed from social media platforms, and he was impeached for the second time. 

Trump’s ban from social media received significant attention, with his allies claiming this action to be censorship and others calling it long overdue. Twitter suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after his supporters stormed the US Capitol. Soon after, his Twitter was permanently deleted, while his POTUS account was suspended.  

Social media has always maintained its guidelines about the safety of its users. No offensive content, no violence or abuse. However, these companies have also been accused of censoring political views or targeting groups of people and controlling the information they have access to. According to Gamblers Pick, a survey of 1,049 people found that child pornography, content encouraging/ inciting violence, and content promoting criminal activity as the top three things that should be censored. Political censorship was almost at the bottom.  

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