Jun 15 2022
WASHINGTON––U.S. Senators John Boozman (R-AR) and John Thune (R-SD), along with Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), led their Republican colleagues today in introducing the Political Bias in Algorithm Sorting (BIAS) Emails Act. The legislation would hold Big Tech platforms accountable for using biased algorithms that take control away from consumers and alter the way users are able to see emails from political campaigns. It would also create more transparency for consumers by revealing the censorship practices Big Tech platforms, including Google, use to filter certain emails.
“Americans don’t need or want technology companies to censor political perspectives they might disagree with, so it’s disturbing to see another indication of them doing just that. Our country has always been about competing on a level playing field and accepting results based on fair rules and practices,” said Boozman. “I’m pleased to join Sen. Thune and our colleagues to ensure more accountability and transparency among Big Tech companies through this bill.”
“I’ve long believed that Congress should hold Big Tech accountable to the users who rely on its platforms – for everything from email to social media – and empower those consumers to make their own online decisions, free from Big Tech’s heavy hand,” said Thune. “I’m proud to lead this effort that would prohibit large online platforms from censoring emails through filtered algorithms – a process that ultimately discriminates against political campaigns. Consumers should be able to choose what they want to see, not Google. It’s long past time for Big Tech to be held accountable for its blatant bias, and this bill would be an important step in that direction.”
“The evidence suggests that some actors in the tech industry display an undeniable pattern of ideological bias against conservatives,” said McConnell. “I applaud Senator Thune for leading legislation to push back against companies that use private-sector political censorship to quietly distort our public discourse. If left-wing elites disagree with citizens’ free speech, they should make their own case in an open marketplace of ideas, not use powerful technology platforms to put a thumb on the scale.”
The legislation is also co-sponsored by Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Mike Braun (R-IN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Josh Hawley (R-MO), James Lankford (R-OK), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
To prevent Big Tech from hindering voters’ access to a candidate’s perspective on certain political issues and other relevant information, the Political BIAS Emails Act would prohibit email platforms, like Google, from using biased filtering algorithms on emails from federal political campaigns, unless a user took a proactive action to apply a certain label to that email. The legislation would also bring much more transparency to the practices large email services use to dictate outcomes by requiring email services to produce quarterly transparency reports.Earlier this year, a non-partisan study found that Google’s algorithm marked nearly 70 percent of emails from Republican campaigns during the 2020 election as spam compared to only 8 percent of emails from Democrat campaigns.