Rep. Cawthorn to Cosponsor Bill to Amend Section 230

Rep. Cawthorn to Cosponsor Bill to Amend Section 230
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) arrives on the House floor in the Capitol before being sworn in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 3, 2021. (Bill Clark - Pool/Getty Images)
Harry Lee

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) announced that he’s co-sponsoring a bill to amend Section 230 to ensure Big Tech platforms uphold U.S. consumers’ right to free speech.

“I am co-sponsoring a bill to amend Section 230 to demand First Amendment protections be applied to big tech platforms!” Cawthorn wrote on Twitter on Jan. 12.

Section 230 is part of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 that largely provides protection to Big Tech companies from being sued for content on their websites.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.).

The introduced bill states that if a provider is dominant in its market and "makes content moderation decisions pursuant to policies or practices that are not reasonably consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution," then they will lose the immunity currently provided by Section 230.

On Jan. 8, Twitter permanently suspended President Donald Trump’s account. Meanwhile, Apple and Google removed Parler, an app seen as Twitter’s alternative, from their respective app stores.

Apple criticized Parler for allowing “dangerous and harmful” content. Amazon followed the move and also removed Parler from its web-hosting service.

“When you rip the tongue out of somebody who would speak against you, you don't prove them to be a liar. Rather, you just prove that you're paralyzed with fear on the altar of oppression, that you're terrified of what they're going to say against you,” Cawthorn told Fox News last week, recalling a similar quote attributed to author George R.R. Martin.

“So these 60,000 conservative accounts on Twitter that have now been permanently banned? I'll tell you, this sets a very dangerous precedent and something we have to fight against.”

Cawthorn said during the interview that Republicans need to take back the House and Senate in 2022, otherwise there's very little they can do to reform Section 230.

“Social media is our generation’s public forum. It ought to be subject to the same protections provided to all public forums,” Cawthorn stated on his website. “I am calling for First Amendment protections to be applied to this New Town Square.”

“Censorship of elected officials by unelected elites is UNAMERICAN!”

Cawthorn, 25, was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives on Jan. 3. He’s one of the youngest members of Congress in history.

Cawthorn objected to the Electoral College results during the Joint Session of Congress on Jan. 6. He later said he believed the state he objected to had “broke their constitutional mandate and the way they ran their elections.”