LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge introduced legislation on Thursday she claims will protect the freedom of speech on digital platforms for state residents.
Rutledge said the legislation, titled “AR Voices: Combating Cancel Culture and Protecting Freedom of Speech” is deigned to hold social media sites liable for damages if Natural State users claim they are being censored or banned without just cause.
“This legislation would allow everyone, no matter the circumstances to have an equal and fair opportunity to post online and if a social media giant does not comply, the company can be held accountable,” said Rutledge.
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 gives websites the ability to regulate content from users on their platforms, so long as they act in good faith.
Numerous conservative lawmakers have called for the law’s repeal in recent years, claiming that sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are using Section 230 as a shield to ban or censor more conservative voices or ideas.
Rutledge claims that the legislation is aimed toward protecting Arkansans from “unilateral judgments” of digital companies, arguing that social media platforms not acting in “good faith” by “unfairly” censoring, deleting or labeling speech would be violating the Arkansas Deceptive Trade Practices Act (ADTPA) and can be held accountable by her office.
In Arkansas, each violation of the ADTPA could result in injunctions and civil penalties of up to $10,000.