Bipartisan Commission to Study Proliferation of Terrorist Content Online
WASHINGTON – A bill introduced Tuesday by the chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security would establish a bipartisan commission of non-government experts to examine the ways social media and other online platforms have been exploited to promote and carry out acts of terrorism.
“Today, the unfortunate reality is that terrorists and other bad actors are spreading their violent ideologies online,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., who introduced H.R. 4782, the National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act.
“This past year, we saw one terrorist livestream his attack and far too many others post their hateful manifestos online,” he said. “Online platforms have struggled to respond to viral proliferation of such content. The magnitude of the challenge demands that we bring experts together to develop effective approaches for companies to keep their platforms safe while promoting free speech and innovation on the internet.
“By creating a bipartisan commission, this bill takes an important first step to making online platforms more secure. I am proud to say it is a product of months of rigorous bipartisan engagement with civil rights and civil liberties groups, industry, and anti-violence organizations,” Thompson added.
If the legislation passes, the commission will also examine how free speech, privacy, civil rights and civil liberties have been impacted by online terrorist content and covert state influence campaigns, as well as the platforms’ responses to such content.
Importantly, in furtherance of this targeted review, the commission will look at whether platforms have transparent, consistent, and equitable policies to enforce their rules and if these rules are enforced consistently and effectively, Thompson said.
The commission will prepare a written report at the end of its work, offering recommendations for how online platforms can address such dangerous content in a manner that promotes free speech and innovation.
As described in the bill, the commission will be chaired by an expert in privacy, civil rights, or civil liberties and will have members with expertise in these areas, as well as computer science and engineering, digital media and communications, online platform management, cybersecurity, information operations, and national security.
Co-sponsors of the legislation include Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I.; Cedric Richmond, D-La.; Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J.; Max Rose, D-N.Y.; Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y.; Bonnie Watson Coleman, D-N.J.; Nanette Barragan, D-Calif.
The Act has been endorsed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Counter Extremism Project, and Jewish Federations of North America.
This bill will be marked up in Committee tomorrow, October 23rd. More info here.
In The News
WASHINGTON — In the fourth session of their ongoing virtual national security briefing series entitled “National Security in the Shadow of COVID-19,” Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and John Katko, R-N.Y., hosted retired Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster to discuss how the national security environment has evolved due... Read More
WASHINGTON — Political players have long had different ideas about national health care, but coronavirus not only shifted policymakers’ priorities, it has also thrown the future of health care reform into question. The Bipartisan Policy Center convened leading pollsters and policy experts to share what they... Read More
WASHINGTON - A bipartisan resolution introduced by Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and Chuck Grassly, R-Iowa, would designate Oct. 5-9 “Malnutrition Awareness Week.” Malnutrition is a significant problem in the United States and results from eating a diet which does not supply a healthy amount of one... Read More
WASHINGTON — The issue of immigration can be polarizing, but the Bipartisan Policy Center has decided to tackle the topic with a series of discussions on immigration policies around the world. The think tank’s latest dialogue coincides with the launch of its new report examining how... Read More
WASHINGTON — The House swiftly passed a stopgap funding measure needed to avert a partial government shutdown in eight days after top congressional leaders reached a deal resolving a fight over farm payments. On a lopsided vote of 359-57, the House sent to the Senate a... Read More
“They would just sit and joke, it was like a comedy show sometimes to watch the two of them,” Cindy McCain said of her husband’s friendship with Joe Biden. The widow of Sen. John McCain spoke in a video, “An Unlikely Friendship,” that aired during the... Read More