By Paul Nehlen | 11 January 2018
THE UNZ REVIEW — In response to the overwhelmingly partisan censorship on major social media platforms against conservatives, I drafted a proposal to ensure American’s lawful speech would be protected by an exceptionally light-touch Federal statute. One would think that, after having called for something to be done for years, at least one major conservative media outlet would have contacted me to do a story on my proposal. You would be wrong (although The Gateway Pundit did publish the original media release, to its credit—Conservative Paul Nehlen Proposes Free Speech Legislation for Social Media Giants, by Jim Hoft, December 17, 2017.] The only outlet to contact me with questions was VICE.com, which provided surprisingly good questions for me to answer. However, when the reporter wouldn’t guarantee that VICE.com would run the full answers or even any of the responses or the questions, I turned to VDARE.com Editor Peter Brimelow to see what he would do.
If you are reading this on VDARE.com now, you have your answer.
To familiarize you with the proposal that I sent to over 800 “American journalists” on December 14, 2017, here it is in its entirety. Directly following it is the questions sent over by VICE.
Delavan, WI — Republican U.S. House candidate Paul Nehlen is the first candidate or elected official willing to stand up and propose a legislative solution to the problem of censorship of Americans’ lawful speech on social media.
“We need a federal law prohibiting censorship of lawful speech on major social media platforms,” Nehlen asserts. “It is well-known that Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube discriminate against the right-wing, as evidenced by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s recent comments. While widely heralded for those comments, they rang hollow with no suggested solution. This law is that solution. It will extend Americans’ First Amendment free speech protections onto major social media platforms.”
“We are not extensively regulating or ‘trust-busting,’” Nehlen explains, “because people generally like how the platforms perform in terms of functionality. This law will not interfere with features or functionality, so market forces will remain in play. The problem is their censorship of lawful speech. Hypocritically, the same companies that support net neutrality also want to censor your speech. We say no.”
For purposes of this legislation, “censorship” includes:
- Denial of platform access and normal use thereof (e.g., lockouts, suspensions, bans)
- Issuance of “verified” status based on any factor(s) unrelated to identity authentication
- “Throttling” accounts and/or content without disclosure
- Embargoing content (i.e., no “memory-holing” content without the consent of the creator)
- Manipulating “trending” algorithms without disclosure
“Lawful speech” is based upon the standards enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, with the following limitations:
- No child pornography
- No explicit, credible threats of physical violence
- No publishing any individual’s nonpublic residential address, telephone number, or email address without their consent
- Platforms may choose to prohibit otherwise-lawful pornographic video (i.e., video containing explicit sexual acts)
- Restrictions on copyrighted content are already addressed by the DMCA
“Major social media platforms” means social media platforms that enjoy a market share above a minimum threshold level. At present, it would include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit. (Smaller platforms and message boards will not be affected.)
The legislation would impose company fines of $500,000 per instance of wrongful censorship, and would be enforced by the FCC. Judicial remedies (both monetary and non-monetary) may also be available to aggrieved parties.
“The bedrock of American society is freedom of speech. Social media companies have usurped this freedom, and we intend to give it back to the American people,” says Nehlen.
“This is just one more instance where Paul Ryan has shown he isn’t getting the job done in Washington. The GOP’s voters are being systematically censored off of the primary channels of public communication by left-wing tech giants, and Ryan — indeed, the entire GOP Congress — has sat utterly mute for years and allowed it to happen. In the absence of leadership, I willingly step into the breach.”
And now for the Q&A on the proposal that VICE could have published:
[Links added by VDARE.com]
VICE: Can you define lawful speech?
Lawful speech is speech that is protected by the United States Constitution. As a general matter, if you can be arrested for it, it’s not lawful speech. If you cannot be arrested for it, it’s lawful speech.
Some speech is lawful until such time as a court of law issues an order declaring it otherwise. One such example is defamation (libel and slander). If X makes a defamatory statement about Y, that speech is treated as lawful until such time as Y obtains a court order declaring the speech defamatory (and thus unlawful).
VICE: Do you see your proposed legislation as a federal law or an amendment to the US Constitution?
A federal law. We already have the First Amendment, though private companies are not required to follow it. They are, however, bound by federal statutes. This legislation will require major social media platforms to respect Americans’ First Amendment protections. […]