State of Illinois
2023 and 2024


Introduced 2/17/2023, by Rep. Brad Halbrook


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, 2023.

LRB103 30321 SPS 56749 b





HB3841LRB103 30321 SPS 56749 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
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
16    "Political speech" means speech relating to the State,
17government, body politic, or public administration as it
18relates to governmental policymaking. "Political speech"
19includes speech by the government or a candidate for office
20and any discussion of social issues. "Political speech" does
21not include speech concerning the administration, law, or
22civil aspects of government.
23    "Religious speech" means a set of unproven answers, truth



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



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



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