Posted on December 8, 2021

‘Emotional Injury’: Democrats Press to Broaden Liability for Social Media Companies

Santi Ruiz, Washington Free Beacon, December 1, 2021

House Democrats on Wednesday called for legislation that would allow users to sue social media sites for causing “emotional injury.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee discussed several bills that would amend Section 230, the legislation that protects tech platforms from being legally liable for users’ posts. The “Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act” would allow users to sue platforms for causing “severe emotional injury,” but does not specify a definition of emotional injury. Free speech advocates worry the law’s vagueness would force platforms to delete more user speech to avoid being sued.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R., Wash.) called the act “a thinly veiled attempt to pressure companies to censor more speech.” She said if “companies will have to decide between leaving up content that may offend someone and fight it in court, or censor content that reaches a user—which do you think they’ll choose?”


Democratic witness Rashad Robinson, president of a George Soros-backed advocacy group, called for more restrictions on free speech to combat “misinformation.”{snip} In the hearing, Robinson called for Congress to place legislative limits on the First Amendment, saying “I understand that we have these conversations about the First Amendment, but there are limitations to what you can and cannot say.”

Democratic representatives largely agreed with Robinson that new regulations should curtail free speech. {snip}