PHOENIX - Social media censorship has become a controversial topic in recent months.
Now that social media companies have begun censoring, and in some cases, blocking political leaders from their platforms, a Republican senator in Scottsdale is introducing a bill that could get rid of government-based accounts altogether.
"These are accounts from a department, an agency, or officially from a state senator or the state house," said District 23 Republican Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita.
Ugenti-Rita says Senate Bill 1687 would not apply to elected officials' personal government accounts, but she believes they should not be using taxpayer dollars to fund the operation of the government accounts when some of those accounts are being censored.
"I don't think the government should be in the business of legitimizing platforms snagged in systemic arbitrary censorship of their users."
This news comes after social media sites, including Twitter, chose to censor, and in some cases, permanently ban politicians, namely former President Donald Trump.
Trump was banned after the social media company accused him of using the platform to incite violence.
Dam Hee Kim, Assistant Professor of Communication at the University of Arizona, says she certainly sees why some lawmakers are choosing to move forward with the bill.
"I think the senator made a great point, that people can be subject to advertisement and privacy concerns, but there are some other points to think about."
Like the role government-run social media accounts often play in spreading key information about community issues, such as natural disasters.
"Where other channels, like websites or phone systems may crash, social media may still be able to provide updates to people and I know this happened with the Arizona Department of Transportation a few years ago," said Kim.
SB1687 has advanced out of committee and it has a few more steps to go before it goes to the senate floor.
Senate Bill 1687: governmental entities; social media; prohibition
- Twitter’s Trump ban is ‘permanent' and former president will not be allowed back on platform, CFO says
- First Amendment expert breaks down what the protection means for social media giants