Full Text of HB4145 102nd General Assembly
HB4145 102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
102ND GENERAL ASSEMBLY
State of Illinois
2021 and 2022
Introduced 10/19/2021, by Rep. Chris Miller
SYNOPSIS AS INTRODUCED:
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.
|FISCAL NOTE ACT MAY APPLY|
A BILL FOR
|HB4145||LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b|
AN ACT concerning civil law.
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Illinois,
represented in the General Assembly:
This Act may be cited as the
Social Media Censorship Act.
In this Act:
"Algorithm" means a set of instructions designed to
perform a specific task.
"Hate speech" means a phrase concerning content that an
individual finds offensive based on his or her personal moral
"Obscene" means that an average person applying
contemporary community standards would find that, taken as a
whole, the dominant theme of the material appeals to prurient
"Political speech" means speech relating to the State,
government, body politic, or public administration as it
relates to governmental policymaking. The term includes speech
by the government or a candidate for office and any discussion
of social issues. The term does not include speech concerning
the administration, law, or civil aspects of government.
"Religious speech" means a set of unproven answers, truth
claims, faith-based assumptions, and naked assertions that
|HB4145||- 2 -||LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b|
attempt to explain such greater questions as how the world was
created, what constitutes right and wrong actions by humans,
and what happens after death.
"Social media website" means 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) Is open to the public.
(2) Has more than 75,000,000 subscribers.
(3) From its inception, has not been specifically
affiliated with any one religion or political party.
Social media censorship; private right of
(a) The owner or operator of a social media website that
contracts with a social media website user in this State is
subject to a private right of action by such user if the social
media website purposely:
(1) deletes or censors the user's religious speech or
political speech; or
(2) uses an algorithm to disfavor or censor the user's
religious speech or political speech.
(b) A social media website user may be awarded all of the
following damages under this Act:
(1) A minimum of $75,000 in statutory damages per
purposeful deletion or censorship of the social media
|HB4145||- 3 -||LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b|
website user's speech.
(2) Actual damages.
(3) If aggravating factors are present, punitive
(4) Other forms of equitable relief.
(c) The prevailing party in an action under this Act may be
awarded costs and reasonable attorney's fees.
(d) A social media website that restores from deletion or
removes the censoring of a social media website user's speech
in a reasonable amount of time may use that fact to mitigate
(e) A social media website may not use the social media
website user's alleged hate speech as a basis for
justification or defense of the social media website's actions
(f) Only users who are 18 years of age or older have
standing to seek enforcement of this Act.
Action by Attorney General.
General may bring a civil action under this Act on behalf of a
social media website user who resides in this State and whose
religious speech or political speech has been censored by a
social media website.
Inapplicability of Act.
(a) This Act does not apply to a social media website that
|HB4145||- 4 -||LRB102 17529 JLS 23137 b|
deletes or censors a social media website user's speech or
that uses an algorithm to disfavor or censor speech that:
(1) calls for immediate acts of violence;
(2) is obscene or pornographic in nature;
(3) is the result of operational error;
(4) is the result of a court order;
(5) comes from an inauthentic source or involves false
(6) entices criminal conduct; or
(7) involves minors bullying minors.
(b) This Act does not apply to a social media website
user's censoring of another social media website user's
This Act takes effect July 1,