Sen. Lee Introduces PROMISE Act to Hold Big Tech Accountable

December 8, 2020

WASHINGTON – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the Promoting Responsibility Over Moderation In the Social Media Environment (PROMISE) Act Tuesday, a bill designed to hold Big Tech companies accountable for their promises to not operate their social medial platforms with political bias. The legislation is cosponsored by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).

“The billionaires who own our nation’s Big Tech companies have every right to be partisan political actors,” Sen. Lee said. “What they don’t have a right to do is make promises to consumers that they will provide unbiased platforms and then discriminate against conservatives on those same platforms.”

“Tech companies hold significant power over the shape of American discourse and should moderate content shared on their platforms in an open and honest fashion,” said Sen. Moran. “This bill would make certain that interactive internet services are abiding by publicly-available information policies that users can easily access and understand so that users can make informed choices. In addition, this legislation would hold tech companies accountable if they misrepresent their content moderation policies while promoting a competitive marketplace that allows smaller internet companies to continue to thrive.”

Specifically, the PROMISE Act would:

  • Require a “covered entity” to implement, operate, and disclose information moderation policies that explain the standards, processes, and policies regarding its moderation of information provided by a user or other information content provider. Such policy must include:
    • Categories of information not permitted on its service or subject to moderation by users or the entity itself
    • The process utilized in moderating content
    • The notification process (if any) utilized to inform users of a moderation action taken, the rationale for the moderation decision, and options for redress (if any)
  • Require a “covered entity” to not make a “deceptive policy statement” with respect to its information moderation policy. A “deceptive policy statement” carries with it a rebuttable presumption that a statement is material and likely to cause injury.
  • Make violations of the requirements to implement, operate, or disclose an “information moderation policy” or to not make a “deceptive policy statement” constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 U.S.C. 45(a)).