Russia Probe Should Work With Tech Companies to Preserve Free Speech
Washington, D.C. — Yesterday and today, the Congressional probe of Russian interference turned to social media as executives from Facebook, Twitter, and Google testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee and back-to-back House and Senate Intelligence Committee hearings.
The following is the statement of Committee for Justice president Curt Levey on how lawmakers are working against — not with — tech companies and the First Amendment:
In crafting a legislative response to Russian interference in our elections via social media, the problem has to be put in perspective. The Russian Facebook ads represents just .004% of what the average Facebook user saw in their newsfeed. Proposed new rules that sweep up an enormous amount of legitimate content published by Americans in an attempt to target a small amount of misinformation posted by Russians would be an overreaction and a significant threat to the future of online free speech.
The legislation that has been proposed would put the burden of enforcement on intermediary service providers such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google. These companies would inevitably adopt a risk-averse approach to free expression on their platforms to avoid liability, necessarily forcing them to limit Americans' free speech as a compliance cost.