Georgia Sen. Greg Dolezal

ATLANTA – A bill prohibiting giant social media platforms from censoring content based on the author’s viewpoint passed the Republican-controlled Georgia Senate Tuesday along party lines.

Reining in social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter has become a national issue since the companies suspended former President Donald Trump’s accounts a year ago.

The Senate bill, which passed 33-21 and now moves to the state House of Representatives, would prohibit social media platforms with more than 20 million followers from discriminating against an author posting content based not only on the person’s viewpoint but his or her race, color ethnicity, religion. religious or political beliefs, national origin, sex, gender or sexual orientation.

Social media companies still would be allowed not to publish obscene material, said Sen. Greg Dolezal, R-Cumming, the bill’s chief sponsor. The Georgia Public Service Commission would enforce the legislation’s provisions, he said.

Senate Democrats didn’t argue with the need to regulate giant social media platforms. But they questioned doing so at the state level.

A federal judge blocked a similar bill Florida lawmakers passed earlier this year after lawyers for Big Tech companies argued it violated their free-speech rights under the First Amendment.

“Social media needs to be regulated,” said Sen. Jen Jordan, D-Atlanta. “[But] I think this needs to be dealt with at the federal level.”

This story is available through a news partnership with Capitol Beat News Service, a project of the Georgia Press Educational Foundation.