Today, Congressman McKinley released draft legislation to remove liability protections for social media and hold them accountable for the sale of illegal drugs on their sites. It is part of a comprehensive package of bills released by Energy and Commerce Republicans that are focused on holding Big Tech accountable by improving transparency and content moderation accountability, reforming Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, promoting competition, and preventing illegal and harmful activity on their platforms.
"We have seen Big Tech, such as Facebook and Twitter, block and ban content that they deem offensive or inaccurate with relative ease when they want to take such action. This makes their failure to stop the sale of illegal drugs on their platforms even more alarming," said McKinley. "These tech companies must be held accountable and removing their shield from legal action is one way to do it."
The opioid crisis continues to ravage the United States. According to the CDC, there were 93,331 reported deaths from overdoses in 2020, a 31% increase from the year before, marking the largest annual increase in at least 50 years.
McKinley has raised this issue multiple times in the last few years, including in hearings with big tech.
In March 2021 during a House Energy and Commerce hearing with executives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter, Representative McKinley grilled Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg on the continued presence of controlled substances for sale on his platforms.
In 2018, McKinley called on Zuckerberg to better regulate the content on Facebook, after his office found that Facebook was allowing illegal online pharmacies to use the social media site to sell illegal opioid pills.
As a result of the 2018 hearing Facebook took down the illegal advertisements. It was later found that similar illegal advertisements continued on affiliated platforms, such as Instagram.