What if Twitter and Facebook could be regulated by the PSC?

Montana Public Service Commissioner Randy Pinocci has come up with a very interesting concept; should social media be regulated like any public service?

After what happened to former President Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 election, Pinocci believed in this concept so much that he introduced a bill to the Montana legislature to do just that.

Pinocci statement on the Trump trial

“We certainly have evidence that social media used discrimination based on your religion or political party affiliation,” Commissioner Pinocci said. “We have the CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey unwittingly recorded that he encouraged his employees to roll up their sleeves and we still have work to do to discriminate against Republicans and take credit for Trump’s loss to the presidency. You know, a person might consider that a betrayal.

Last spring, Pinocci met with Missoula lawmaker Brad Tschida and drafted Bill 573, which would treat social media companies as public services and place them under the authority of a commission of the function state public.

“The Civil Service Commission is fully funded by public services, which means social media should have paid the Civil Service Commission to regulate social media, not the taxpayer,” he said. “The complaint would have been shared between the general Montana fund and the person filing the complaint. My bill provided that we could impose fines on social media of up to 1% of gross income, which would be roughly $ 50 million per complaint. $ 25 million goes to the state of Montana, the other 25 million goes to the person filing the complaint.

The bill failed by one vote after 18 House Republicans voted against it. Pinocci said Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was leading the bill and thought it would be a great idea.

“I have before me an article in which Judge Thomas pleads for the creation of Facebook, Twitter and Google utilities,” he said. “Last fall, Justice Clarence Thomas argued that it was time to put the brakes on public services, put them under a Public Service Commission and make social media a public service. So that’s a pretty important quote.

Pinocci said Judge Thomas’ comments were a bit too late to influence the Montana legislature.

“I was, I believe, the first civil service commissioner in the country to publicly demand this duty, to help draft legislation, to support a representative to get it passed. And we lost by a vote and then Judge Thomas behind me backs him up just days after we lost the vote. I will continue to move forward with this.

Pinocci said the Montanais should overthrow all Republican lawmakers who voted against HB 573.

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