Illinois General Assembly - Full Text of HB4145
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Full Text of HB4145  102nd General Assembly

HB4145 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY

  
  

 


 
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
HB4145

 

Introduced 10/19/2021, by Rep. Chris Miller

 

SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
 
New Act

    Creates the Stop Social Media Censorship Act. Provides that the owner or operator of a social media website that censors or deletes a user's religious or political speech is subject to a private right of action by certain social media website users in this State. Authorizes the recovery of actual damages, statutory damages, and punitive damages. Provides for the award of reasonable attorney's fees and costs. Prohibits a social media website from using alleged hate speech as a defense. Authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action on behalf of social media website users. Defines terms. Effective July 1, 2021.


LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b

FISCAL NOTE ACT MAY APPLY

 

 

A BILL FOR

 

HB4145LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b

1    AN ACT concerning civil law.
 
2    Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
3represented in the General Assembly:
 
4    Section 1. Short title. This Act may be cited as the Stop
5Social Media Censorship Act.
 
6    Section 5. Definitions. In this Act:
7    "Algorithm" means a set of instructions designed to
8perform a specific task.
9    "Hate speech" means a phrase concerning content that an
10individual finds offensive based on his or her personal moral
11code.
12    "Obscene" means that an average person applying
13contemporary community standards would find that, taken as a
14whole, the dominant theme of the material appeals to prurient
15interests.
16    "Political speech" means speech relating to the State,
17government, body politic, or public administration as it
18relates to governmental policymaking. The term includes speech
19by the government or a candidate for office and any discussion
20of social issues. The term does not include speech concerning
21the administration, law, or civil aspects of government.
22    "Religious speech" means a set of unproven answers, truth
23claims, faith-based assumptions, and naked assertions that

 

 

HB4145- 2 -LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b

1attempt to explain such greater questions as how the world was
2created, what constitutes right and wrong actions by humans,
3and what happens after death.
4    "Social media website" means an Internet website or
5application that enables users to communicate with each other
6by posting information, comments, messages, or images and that
7meets all of the following requirements:
8        (1) Is open to the public.
9        (2) Has more than 75,000,000 subscribers.
10        (3) From its inception, has not been specifically
11    affiliated with any one religion or political party.
 
12    Section 10. Social media censorship; private right of
13action; damages.
14    (a) The owner or operator of a social media website that
15contracts with a social media website user in this State is
16subject to a private right of action by such user if the social
17media website purposely:
18        (1) deletes or censors the user's religious speech or
19    political speech; or
20        (2) uses an algorithm to disfavor or censor the user's
21    religious speech or political speech.
22    (b) A social media website user may be awarded all of the
23following damages under this Act:
24        (1) A minimum of $75,000 in statutory damages per
25    purposeful deletion or censorship of the social media

 

 

HB4145- 3 -LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b

1    website user's speech.
2        (2) Actual damages.
3        (3) If aggravating factors are present, punitive
4    damages.
5        (4) Other forms of equitable relief.
6    (c) The prevailing party in an action under this Act may be
7awarded costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
8    (d) A social media website that restores from deletion or
9removes the censoring of a social media website user's speech
10in a reasonable amount of time may use that fact to mitigate
11any damages.
12    (e) A social media website may not use the social media
13website user's alleged hate speech as a basis for
14justification or defense of the social media website's actions
15at trial.
16    (f) Only users who are 18 years of age or older have
17standing to seek enforcement of this Act.
 
18    Section 15. Action by Attorney General. The Attorney
19General may bring a civil action under this Act on behalf of a
20social media website user who resides in this State and whose
21religious speech or political speech has been censored by a
22social media website.
 
23    Section 20. Inapplicability of Act.
24    (a) This Act does not apply to a social media website that

 

 

HB4145- 4 -LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b

1deletes or censors a social media website user's speech or
2that uses an algorithm to disfavor or censor speech that:
3        (1) calls for immediate acts of violence;
4        (2) is obscene or pornographic in nature;
5        (3) is the result of operational error;
6        (4) is the result of a court order;
7        (5) comes from an inauthentic source or involves false
8    personation;
9        (6) entices criminal conduct; or
10        (7) involves minors bullying minors.
11    (b) This Act does not apply to a social media website
12user's censoring of another social media website user's
13speech.
 
14    Section 99. Effective date. This Act takes effect July 1,
152021.