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Mexico drafts new bill to punish social media platforms for censorship

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Mexico could soon have a law to regulate mainstream social media networks to protect free speech. Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrado has been critical of social media companies, and even blasted Facebook for indefinitely suspending former President Trump.

The new bill, proposed by the leader of the ruling party, Senator Ricardo Monreal, will amend the federal telecommunications law to give the IFT, the country’s telecom regulator, the mandate to suspend or remove social media accounts – not the Big Tech platform.

In the draft bill, Monreal specifically mentioned Facebook, the most popular social network in Mexico, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Snapchat.

The draft states that the bill will help in “establishing the grounds and general principles of the protection of freedom of expression in social networks.”

The bill proposes fines of up to $4.4 million for violating users’ right to free speech.

For now, Monreal is seeking public comment on the bill.

He has previously alleged that Twitter cannot be neutral in Mexico as it has an employee in the country who was formerly affiliated with an opposition party.

“One of the things that affects freedom of expression occurs through impeding the right to receive information, by blocking content, as has happened in recent cases with Twitter,” according to the draft bill that Monreal published.

The law would likely contradict the terms of the US-Mexico Canada free trade agreement, which adds in the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act notion of “no Party shall impose liability on a supplier or user of an interactive computer service on account of … any action voluntarily taken in good faith by the supplier or user to restrict access to or availability of material that is accessible or available through its supply or use of the interactive computer services and that the supplier or user considers to be harmful or objectionable.”

This would likely mean that the trade deal could have to be changed in order for this proposed bill to become law.

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