A Republican state representative has introduced a bill that would make it illegal in Michigan for social media companies such as Google or Facebook to “censor, ban, shadow-ban” or use other means to exercise viewpoint discrimination against users on the basis of the person’s political opinions.
State Rep. John Reilly of Oakland Township introduced House Bill 4801 on June 26. A press release from the Michigan House Republican caucus cited a Project Veritas undercover sting that secretly recorded a Google executive, Jen Gennai, saying that her company is focused on “never letting somebody like Donald Trump come to power again.”
The bill has been referred to the House Communications and Technology Committee, chaired by Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton.
“This isn’t a question of property rights. This is a question of fraud,” Reilly said in the press release. “In this modern era, social media networks are the new public square. Banning – and worse, secretly banning while deceiving the user into believing their content is being shared equally – excludes individuals from public life.”
Reilly continued: “Social media companies cannot eat their cake and have it too. They cannot enjoy the privileges of being a platform, such as immunity from liability for users’ content, while also enjoying the privileges of being a publisher to control what everyone may or may not say on their network.”
Antony Davies, an associate professor of economics at Duquesne University, said in an email that there is a distinction between a government entity and a private enterprise.
Many taxpayer supported K-12 organizations use Google and Facebook services, including Madison.