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View NCGA Bill Details2021
Senate Bill 497 (Public) Filed Thursday, April 1, 2021
Intro. by Alexander, Corbin, Johnson.

Status: Ref To Com On Rules and Operations of the Senate (Senate action) (Apr 5 2021)

Bill History:

S 497

Bill Summaries:

  • Summary date: Apr 5 2021 - View Summary

    Includes whereas clauses.

    Enacts new Article 9, Stop Social Media Censorship Act, in GS Chapter 75. Specifies that the Article is intended to create a statute that parallels the spirit of the specified federal law that falls within the state law exemption and to create a civil right of action that will deter deceptive trade practices, false advertising, breach of contract, bad faith, unfair dealing, fraudulent inducement, and the stifling of political and religious speech in the modern day digital public square cultivated by social media websites that have achieved critical mass through fraud.

    Provides that if the Attorney General fails to enjoin or prosecute a claim under this Article within 60 days of receiving a complaint from a user, the owner or operator of a social media website who contracts with a social media website user in this state is subject to a private right of action by a user if the social media website intentionally engages in: (1) deleting or censoring the user's religious speech or political speech (as defined in the act) or (2) using an algorithm to disfavor, shadowban (blocking or partially blocking a user or the user's content from an online community such that the block would not be readily apparent to the user), or censure the user's religious speech or political speech. Defines social medial website as an internet website or application that enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, or images and that meets all of the following requirements: (1) an open and public forum; (2) more than 75,000,000 subscribers; (3) from its inception, no specific affiliation with any single religion or political party; and (4) provides a means for its users to report obscene material and has procedures in place for evaluating those reports and removing obscene material. Allows awarding a social media website user up to $75,000 in statutory damages, actual damages, punitive damages if aggravating factors are found, and any other equitable relief. Awards the prevailing party costs and attorneys' fees. Specifies ways a social media website may mitigate damages. Prohibits a website from using a user's alleged hate speech as a basis for justification or as a defense. Allows the Attorney General to bring an action on behalf of a social media website user age 18 or older residing in the state whose religious speech or political speech has been censored. Specifies that the statute does not prohibit: (1) a social media website that deletes or censors a user's speech or that uses an algorithm to disfavor or censor speech that: calls for immediate acts of violence; calls for an individual to harm himself or herself; contains obscene, lewd, filthy, lascivious material, or material that is harmful to minors; is the result of operational error; is the result of a court order; comes from an inauthentic source or involves false impersonation; encourages criminal conduct; involves bullying of minors; constitutes trademark or copyright infringement; is excessively violent; or constitutes harassing spam that is commercial or (2) a social media website user's censoring of another user's speech. 

    Makes conforming changes to GS 114-2.

  • Summary date: Apr 1 2021 - View Summary

    To be summarized.