Lawmakers discuss social media sites censoring Michiganders

Local News

LANSING, MICH. (WLNS) —- At the Capitol, lawmakers are bringing attention to censorship happening on social media. It’s something that could be happening to you and you aren’t even aware of it.

In House Bill 4801 Representative John Reilly said he wants social media companies, like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, to be content and viewpoint neutral if that’s how they represent themselves to users.

It’s a complicated issue, but Reilly said social media sites can impact people and businesses with a following.

Riley said, “One day you say something a platform deems offensive and instantly you’re banned, shutout from your customers.”

This censorship on social media can happen in different ways. Riley mentions the shadow banning method.

Riley explains shadow banning is, “Where a platform lets a user go on merely posting, not informing him that they are suppressing his posts and nobody sees them.”

Rielly said he wants to make sure social media platform’s censorship polices are not impacting Michiganders, but not everyone is convinced this bill is the answer.

Representative Kevin Coleman said, “On the other end you have people who may be posting violent images or obscene graphic content that we don’t obviously, probably most people don’t want to see when they’re scrolling on their feed or interacting with others.”

Some people oppose the bill completely.

NetChoice Vice President Carl Szabo said, “Email service providers that hold themselves to be neutral would be unable to block spam because they would be, “shadow banning” spammers. So while this is an issue of important discussion, I don’t think HB 4801 is a way to address the concerns we’ve heard.”

Questions remain on how this bill would be regulated.

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