Kirk Cox Calls for Action to Hold Big Tech Accountable

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Former Virginia House of Delegates Speaker, retired teacher, and 2021 candidate for Governor Kirk Cox today released his plan to protect the First Amendment and hold Big Tech companies accountable for uncalled-for censorship. States across the country are taking action in lieu of legislation at the federal level, including in Florida under the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis.

“As a 30-year government teacher, I know how important the First Amendment and civil discourse are to our representative democracy,” said Cox. “In 2021, much of that conversation is happening online. Unfortunately, social media platforms have taken damaging actions to our public discourse, eroding public trust.

“In recent years, Big Tech companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have become an extended version of Big Brother. They play a significant role in our elections, and the public deserves to know the truth about how they operate. They should not be allowed to arbitrarily pick sides and censor speech, and they must be held responsible when they deceive consumers or act egregiously.

“This trend has accelerated over the last few months with egregious actions by social media platforms, unfairly targeting conservatives. The silencing, the shaming, and the censorship are very real. And as Governor, I will fight back. The public deserves to know the truth about how Big Tech operates.

“As Governor, I will take strong, reasonable steps to protect the First Amendment freedoms critical to the success of our public discourse and defend consumers.”

Kirk’s Plan

Increase Transparency

  • Require Big Tech to publish standards used to censor posts, de-platform, or shadow ban users clearly and separately from the terms of service.
  • Allow users to opt-out of algorithms used to determine which content users see.
  • Notify users before taking action to censor, ban, or prohibit content, except in cases where users break the law.

Prevent Uncalled-for Censorship

  • Create a ‘three-strike’ system of warnings prior to adopting permanent bans and suspensions.
  • Make available to users remedial steps that can be taken to restore their accounts.
  • Prohibit the de-platforming of qualified candidates for elected office.

Create Accountability

  • Expand the Attorney General’s authority to investigate and act against censorship and de-platforming.
  • Enact $100,000 daily fine for big tech companies that violate the law.

Read the full plan here.