Sen. Hawley on bill targeting Big Tech: They've 'purchased a lot of influence' and will fight it 'tooth and nail'

By Talia Kaplan | Fox News

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., told “Fox & Friends” on Thursday that he anticipates major tech companies will fight “tooth and nail” against new legislation he introduced targeting those companies.

Hawley’s bill would give Americans the ability to sue major tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter if they engage in selective censorship of political speech.

“Big Tech are some of the most powerful players on Capitol Hill,” Hawley noted.

“They have purchased a lot of influence with the think tank economists, unfortunately on both sides of the aisle, so they will fight this tooth and nail. They fight any kind of reform tooth and nail.”

He went on to say that he thinks that “as people see more and more how powerful Big Tech is and how they are using power to favor one political side over the other, I think people are going to stand up and say, ‘This is enough.’”

The Limiting Section 230 Immunity to Good Samaritans Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Mike Braun, R-Ind., and Tom Cotton, R-Ark., would stop such companies from receiving immunity under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, unless they update their terms of service to promise to operate in good faith.

NBC NEWS UNDER FIRE FOR APPARENTLY PUSHING GOOGLE TO REMOVE CONSERVATIVE SITES FROM AD PLATFORM 

The bill would allow users to sue companies for breaching that contractual duty of good faith, and it would make them pay $5,000 plus legal fees to each user who prevails in a case against them.

Hawley said his bill is “very simple.”

“It just says that Big Tech has to treat all of its users equally in terms of its terms of service so if Big Tech violates their terms of service, then it gives the individual the ability to sue,” he explained.

He then brought up an example of alleged censorship by a Big Tech company.

“Take The Federalist website, that conservative website that Google tried to de-platform just two days ago,” Hawley said. “Under my bill, The Federalist would be able to go to court.”

Hawley’s bill was introduced a day after NBC News reported on a Google crackdown against two conservative websites, including The Federalist.

NBC News initially claimed Google “banned” The Federalist and ZeroHedge from Google Ads for “pushing unsubstantiated claims” about the Black Lives Matter movement. Google later pushed back, claiming that The Federalist “was never demonetized.”

“If you get treated unfairly by Big Tech, you ought to be able to have your day in court. It’s that simple,” Hawley said.

He added that “time is really of the essence,” saying trying to get his bill passed is “an urgent, urgent matter.”

“I would just call on my colleagues to act now,” Hawley said.

“This bill has broader support when it comes to changing 230 than I think any other bill of its kind has ever had before. It’s time to act now.”

“You could see just two days ago with Google trying to silence a conservative website, this is what these tech companies are doing. They’re doing it out in the open,” he continued. “It’s time to stop that. Give people the right to sue.”

A Twitter spokesperson responded to Hawley’s bill saying there is “no comment directly on the legislation.”

“We enforce the Twitter rules impartially for all people on our service — regardless of political ideology,” the statement continued.

“I look forward to their support,” Hawley said in response to the statement.

“If they really are enforcing their terms of service impartially, then they should support this bill because all this bill says is, the terms of service these big tech companies write, they have to enforce them evenly.”

He went on to note, “Of course we know that Twitter has been out there censoring the president of the United States while saying nothing about Joe Biden or nothing about all those Chinese communist party diplomats who’ve been lying about COVID-19 so they’re not enforcing anything evenly.”

“But if they really are, then I think they should welcome this legislation and I look forward to their endorsement,” he continued.

Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Joseph Wulfsohn and Jake Gibson contributed to this report. Talia Kaplan is a reporter for FoxNews.com.

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