Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) recently introduced an amendment to protect free speech and prevent the federal government from censoring information regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rand Paul Proposes Amendment to Prohibit Federal Bureaucrats From Censoring COVID Information https://t.co/xO3OGkIvC8
— PJ Media (@PJMedia_com) June 16, 2023
Paul’s amendment, though, was eventually struck down by Senate bill S.61, the “Combating Cartels on Social Media Act.”
According to his Senate website, Paul forced a vote during a committee business meeting concerning his proposed amendment.
According to PJMedia, the federal government at the highest level was involved, in some way, shape, or form, in censoring information about COVID-19. Yet, it faced no consequences from any law enforcement agencies.
On July 16, 2021, former White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “We are regularly making sure social media platforms are aware of the latest narratives, dangers to public health… The false narrative that remains active out there about COVID-19 vaccines causing infertility… And we want to know that the social media platforms are taking steps to address it…”
“And that is an example of the kind of information that we are flagging, or facing,” Psaki added.
Psaki’s argument, and that of her colleagues, was that the White House offered mere “suggestions” to social media companies and that no crime was committed.
Psaki’s argument was false, considering that social media companies currently base their business models on maintaining immunity from liability for users’ speech under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
When social media companies begin acting as an editor by “fixing” content to remove “misinformation,” they are violating the idea that they’re not a publisher and are, as a result, immune from the laws that apply to publishers.
Social media companies and their lawyers comprehend their legal challenge with Section 230. So, they answer the door when the government knocks.
“Recent unsettling disclosures, including those within the Twitter files, illustrate how the federal government has leveraged taxpayer-funded resources to collude with social media companies and censor disfavored speech on topics from COVID-19 to U.S. elections…” Paul said.
“The freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment is one of the bedrock principles of our founding, and Congress must defend this right against government censorship,” Paul added.
“It is against this backdrop that I call up my amendment which would prohibit federal employees from using their official position to censor speech on social media and other outlets…” he continued.