Montana Public Service Commissioner speaks on need to regulate social media


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BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – Social media censorship has become a hot issue across the country, especially for conservatives.

Jordan Hall, who used Facebook for his online post: The Montana Daily Gazette, says its reach was limited due to content that did not meet the site’s community standards. He said he lost revenue because of it and argued that there must be a way to hold these companies accountable.

“I have the right to due process under the law, and there is no court due to section 230 of the federal law to challenge them, unless the states come together and create a means and a mechanism by which their citizens can challenge big technologies, ”says Hall.

Montana Civil Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci said the Civil Service Commission should be allowed to regulate these companies. He said he thinks regulating these companies could be the future of the board.

“(Social Media Companies) is a monopoly; there is really only one Facebook, there is really only one Twitter. They have tremendous power, and they can raise tariffs and kick anyone out for any reason, ”Pinocci said.

Pinocci reached out to State Representative Brad Tschida, R-Missoula and an Arizona constitutional expert to create a bill that Pinocci said would have protected the constitutional rights of the Montanese. Bill 573, introduced in the 2021 session, would have given the state public service commission the power to impose fines on businesses of up to 1% of their gross income if the commission judges that the The company is responsible for removing content from their site in a discriminatory manner.

“We thought it would be an arbitrary and independent group that would take it out of the oversight of the attorney general, the legislature or whatever and that just felt natural to us,” Tschida said.

The vote failed at home by one vote due to 18 Republicans voting with Democrats against the bill. Democratic State Representative Katie Sullivan D-Missoula, who heard the bill in committee, said in a statement that “Tell private companies what they can and cannot do with the content of their own websites are simply anti-commercial and unconstitutional. It is also against federal law.

Llew Jones, R-Conrad, said while social media censorship is a problem, he says he doesn’t think the Civil Service Commission is in a position to enforce the bill.

“I didn’t see at the time how they should even be considered capable of doing this job. They’re not already doing the job they were supposed to be doing, ”said Llew Jones.

While the bill has failed this session, Pinocci says he thinks there is a good chance that a bill will pass in the next session.

Copyright 2021 KFYR. All rights reserved.

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