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The lawmakers over in North Dakota want both Facebook and Twitter to face lawsuits coming from users that have reportedly been "censored." The official bill was submitted by six different legislators just last week titling it an Act aimed to permit civil actions directly against social media sites for them censoring user speech.

New Bill aims to sue websites for 'censorship'

According to an article by arsTechnica, It states that the social media websites along with over 1 million users could be liable in a certain civil action for the damages towards a person who has had their speech restricted, censored, or even oppressed. It was also said that this is directed to any person who reasonably otherwise should have received the speech, writing, or even publication.

The payouts for the "censored" users would also include treble damages made for compensatory, consequential, and other incidental damages. Even if this would be passed by the official North Dakota legislator, this particular bill will still most likely have no effect due to its conflict with official federal law. The proposed law is said to immediately be deemed void as it is preempted by the Section 230 of the official Communications Decency Act.

Bill would have no effect due to Section 230

According to attorney Akiva Cohen in his statement in a Twitter thread regarding this particular bill, this would have no effect because federal law is considered supreme in comparison to state law where these two clash. This would then create an express conflict.

It is known that Section 230 is a particular US law that was enacted back in 1996 saying that providers as well as users of interactive computer services should not actually be liable for any particular action voluntary taken in good faith in order to restrict access to or even availability of material that either the provider or the user could consider as obscene, lascivious, lewd, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or even otherwise objectionable. This is true whether or not this material is officially constitutionally protected.

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Attorney Coney comments on bill

The particular North Dakota bill text also says that it would apply only in certain cases when a company is said to be immune from "civil liability under federal law." This actually means that the proposed North Decota law would eventually no longer apply if Section 230 is then repealed by the official federal government. However, the proposed law will most likely not be enforced while the federal law Section 230 is currently in place either.

Cohen then wrote that there is actually no question that this would then target conduct immune under the federal law. It was also stated that in fact, if Section 230 were then repealed, nobody could then be liable under this particular law and this is because it only reaches immune conduct. He then called the this proposed North Dakota bill that hasn't been approved "incredibly stupid."

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Written by Urian Buenconsejo

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