FREEDOM OF SPEECH
The First Amendment of The Constitution lists five fundamental freedoms every American citizen is entitled to: religion, press, assembly, petition, and most significant of all, speech. Freedom of speech is, and has always been, central to the people of the United States; from the Declaration of Independence to the Federalist Papers, our nation was founded on this principle and preserving it is of the utmost importance.
In times where sources of information abound as never before, it is essential that all people have the freedom to choose what media they consume. Efforts to combat the proliferation of misinformation and hate speech should be, and are, entirely compatible with retaining the inherent liberty of citizens to express their viewpoints. In fact, while often viewed only as a liability shield, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is significant in its protection of platforms' efforts to limit misinformation.
In order to preserve this sacred American liberty, legitimate media outlets should not be targeted simply for expressing a divergent perspective. Threats to eliminate voices of opposition should not be tolerated and efforts should be made to ensure the coexistence of differing perspectives, for it is this diversity itself that allows democracy to flourish.
The incumbent supports the Protecting Americans from Dangerous Algorithms Act, which would specifically target algorithms and news outlets that amplify content, yet it seems intended to silence those who disagree with her rather than quell misinformation. The 80-year-old incumbent is deliberately opposing the benefits of having a diverse ecosystem of media outlets that are independent of the government, and her proposal would limit viewers' ability to make their own decisions. This is censorship.
Even worse, a study conducted in 2020 revealed that an alarming 55% of Americans believe that feeling safe and welcome on the Internet, even if it entails suppression of speech, is more important than the ability to express themselves freely online. These results make it unequivocally clear that we must do all we can to make freedom of speech a priority once again. The study also discovered that differences in opinion over freedom of speech online are tied to partisanship. Freedom to express oneself should not and cannot become a partisan issue—it is a fundamental and indisputable right that is guaranteed to every American.
Balancing the diversity of opinion with hatred and blatant misinformation needs the voice of Silicon Valley. I support Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) in their attempt to tackle the spread of misinformation on social media platforms with the Nudging Users to Drive Good Experiences on Social Media (Social Media NUDGE) Act.
Today, we must curb the escalation of hate speech while encouraging the diversity of opinion in order to preserve the integrity of our systems and the most important of our fundamental liberties. Now, in a time when protection of civil liberties are globally trending downward, with nearly 75% of the world's countries restricting their press, it is more important than ever to safeguard the rights allotted to us by our nation's foundational documents.