Chief Sponsor: Michael K. McKell

House Sponsor: Brady Brammer

6     Cosponsor:
7     Curtis S. Bramble


10     General Description:
11          This bill enacts provisions with respect to the regulation of social media corporations.
12     Highlighted Provisions:
13          This bill:
14          ▸     defines terms;
15          ▸     requires social media corporations to, for Utah account holders, provide:
16               •     clear information about the social media corporation's moderation practices;
17               •     notice to the account holder or the attorney general when the social media
18     corporation uses a moderation practice with respect to a Utah account holder's
19     account; and
20               •     an opportunity for a Utah account holder to appeal certain moderation practices
21     that the social media corporation employs on a Utah account holder's account or
22     post;
23          ▸     provides, if a social media corporation violates its terms of use with respect to
24     moderation practices:
25               •     a mechanism for a Utah account holder to make a complaint to the Division of
26     Consumer Protection (division) and the attorney general;
27               •     a mechanism for the division to investigate alleged violations; and
28               •     an enforcement and penalty mechanism for the attorney general if the division

29     refers a violation to the attorney general;
30          ▸     creates a restricted account to deposit penalties and provides for the distributions
31     from the account; and
32          ▸     provides for severability if a provision is found to be invalid.
33     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
34          None
35     Other Special Clauses:
36          This bill provides a special effective date.
37     Utah Code Sections Affected:
38     AMENDS:
39          13-2-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2020, Chapter 118
40     ENACTS:
41          13-58-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
42          13-58-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
43          13-58-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
44          13-58-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
45          13-58-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
46          13-58-204, Utah Code Annotated 1953
47          13-58-301, Utah Code Annotated 1953
48          13-58-302, Utah Code Annotated 1953
49          13-58-303, Utah Code Annotated 1953
50          13-58-304, Utah Code Annotated 1953
51          13-58-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953

53     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
54          Section 1. Section 13-2-1 is amended to read:
55          13-2-1. Consumer protection division established -- Functions.
56          (1) There is established within the Department of Commerce the Division of Consumer

57     Protection.
58          (2) The division shall administer and enforce the following:
59          (a) Chapter 5, Unfair Practices Act;
60          (b) Chapter 10a, Music Licensing Practices Act;
61          (c) Chapter 11, Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act;
62          (d) Chapter 15, Business Opportunity Disclosure Act;
63          (e) Chapter 20, New Motor Vehicle Warranties Act;
64          (f) Chapter 21, Credit Services Organizations Act;
65          (g) Chapter 22, Charitable Solicitations Act;
66          (h) Chapter 23, Health Spa Services Protection Act;
67          (i) Chapter 25a, Telephone and Facsimile Solicitation Act;
68          (j) Chapter 26, Telephone Fraud Prevention Act;
69          (k) Chapter 28, Prize Notices Regulation Act;
70          (l) Chapter 32a, Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act;
71          (m) Chapter 34, Utah Postsecondary Proprietary School Act;
72          (n) Chapter 34a, Utah Postsecondary School State Authorization Act;
73          (o) Chapter 39, Child Protection Registry;
74          (p) Chapter 41, Price Controls During Emergencies Act;
75          (q) Chapter 42, Uniform Debt-Management Services Act;
76          (r) Chapter 49, Immigration Consultants Registration Act;
77          (s) Chapter 51, Transportation Network Company Registration Act;
78          (t) Chapter 52, Residential Solar Energy Disclosure Act;
79          (u) Chapter 53, Residential, Vocational and Life Skills Program Act;
80          (v) Chapter 54, Ticket Website Sales Act;
81          (w) Chapter 56, Ticket Transferability Act; [and]
82          (x) Chapter 57, Maintenance Funding Practices Act[.]; and
83          (y) Chapter 58, Freedom from Biased Moderation Act.
84          Section 2. Section 13-58-101 is enacted to read:


Part 1. General Provisions

87          13-58-101. Title.
88          This chapter is known as the "Freedom from Biased Moderation Act."
89          Section 3. Section 13-58-102 is enacted to read:
90          13-58-102. Definitions.
91          In this chapter:
92          (1) "Account holder" means a Utah resident who has or opens an account to use a
93     social media corporation's platform.
94          (2) (a) "Dangerous exigent content" means content that indicates the imminent threat or
95     perpetration of a serious crime.
96          (b) "Dangerous exigent content" includes content that:
97          (i) indicates an imminent threat to a particular individual;
98          (ii) indicates an imminent terrorist threat;
99          (iii) indicates or depicts suicide or self-harm;
100          (iv) depicts the sexual exploitation of a minor; or
101          (v) indicates an imminent violation of a grievous sexual offense as that term is defined
102     in Subsection 76-1-601(8).
103          (3) "Director" means the director of the division.
104          (4) "Division" means the Division of Consumer Protection in the Department of
105     Commerce established in Section 13-2-1.
106          (5) "Flag" means the act of a social media corporation singling out a post because of
107     the post's content.
108          (6) "Inequitable moderation practice" means:
109          (a) an inconsistent application of a social media corporation's terms of use to justify a
110     moderation practice; and
111          (b) moderating content that does not violate a social media corporation's terms of use.
112          (7) (a) "Interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access

113     software provider that:
114          (i) provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server; and
115          (ii) provides access to the Internet.
116          (b) "Interactive computer service" includes:
117          (i) a web service;
118          (ii) a web system;
119          (iii) a website;
120          (iv) a web application; or
121          (v) a web portal.
122          (8) (a) "Moderation practice" means a method a social media corporation employs to
123     regulate a post.
124          (b) "Moderation practice" includes:
125          (i) flagging a post;
126          (ii) removing a post;
127          (iii) suspending an account holder's account; or
128          (iv) revoking an account holder's access to a platform.
129          (9) (a) "Platform" means an online forum that a social media corporation makes
130     available for an account holder to:
131          (i) create a profile;
132          (ii) upload posts;
133          (iii) view the posts of other account holders; and
134          (iv) interact with other account holders or users.
135          (b) "Platform" does not include:
136          (i) electronic mail; or
137          (ii) an online service, website, or application on which:
138          (A) the majority of the content that is posted or created is posted or created by the
139     provider of the online service, website, or application; and
140          (B) the ability to chat, comment, or interact with other users is directly related to the

141     provider's content.
142          (10) "Post" means content that an account holder makes available on the account
143     holder's account for other account holders or users to view.
144          (11) "Social media corporation" means any domestic corporation or foreign corporation
145     that provides a platform that has at least 20,000,000 account holders and is an interactive
146     computer service.
147          (12) "Terms of use" means the terms to which an account holder must agree before an
148     account holder can open or continue to use an account on a platform.
149          (13) (a) "User" means an individual who has access to view the post of an account
150     holder.
151          (b) "User" includes an account holder.
152          (14) (a) "Utah resident" means a person who lives or operates in Utah and:
153          (i) if the person is an individual, has a primary residence in Utah; or
154          (ii) if the person is a business, has a principal place of business in Utah.
155          (b) "Utah resident" does not include a person who has a primary residence or principal
156     place of business in another state.
157          (15) "Violation" means a social media corporation's use of a moderation practice
158     against an account holder that does not comply with the social media corporation's terms of
159     use.
160          Section 4. Section 13-58-201 is enacted to read:
Part 2. Transparency

162          13-58-201. Communication of moderation practices.
163          (1) Beginning on July 1, 2022, and once every year following July 1, 2022, a social
164     media corporation shall clearly communicate to account holders the social media corporation's
165     moderation practices before the account holder continues to engage with the social media
166     corporation's platform.
167          (2) A social media corporation shall ensure that the corporation's communication of
168     moderation practices:

169          (a) provides a complete list of potential moderation practices to all account holders;
170          (b) informs an account holder about the social media corporation's terms of use
171     regarding content that the social media corporation allows on the platform;
172          (c) explains the steps the social media corporation takes to ensure a post or account
173     complies with the social media corporation's terms of use;
174          (d) explains the methods users can use to notify the social media corporation of content
175     that may violate the terms of use; and
176          (e) includes information about the appeals process described in Section 13-58-204.
177          Section 5. Section 13-58-202 is enacted to read:
178          13-58-202. Prohibited moderation practices.
179          A social media corporation may not:
180          (1) employ inequitable moderation practices; or
181          (2) communicate the information described in Section 13-58-201 in a method that
182     includes any information not specifically related to the social media corporation's moderation
183     practices.
184          Section 6. Section 13-58-203 is enacted to read:
185          13-58-203. Notice requirement.
186          (1) Except as provided in Subsection (5), a social media corporation shall provide
187     written notice to an account holder no more than 24 hours after moderating the account holder's
188     post or account.
189          (2) The notice described in Subsection (1) shall include:
190          (a) a description of the post or account moderated;
191          (b) a description of the method the social media corporation used to moderate the post
192     or account;
193          (c) a citation to the terms of use that the moderated post or account violated;
194          (d) information about the appeal process; and
195          (e) an appeal form.
196          (3) The account holder shall have 30 days to submit an appeal form.

197          (4) The social media corporation shall make the appeal form:
198          (a) simple to submit;
199          (b) contain an option for the account holder to submit up to five examples of similar
200     content that the social media corporation has not moderated; and
201          (c) contain an option for the account holder to explain why the post or account should
202     not have been moderated.
203          (5) (a) If the post or account that the social media corporation moderates is dangerous
204     exigent content, the social media corporation shall provide written notice to the attorney
205     general as soon as practicable, but no more than 24 hours after moderating the post or account.
206          (b) The written notice to the attorney general shall include:
207          (i) a description of the post or account moderated;
208          (ii) a description of the method the social media corporation used to moderate the post
209     or account; and
210          (iii) a description of why the social media corporation determined that the moderated
211     post or account qualifies as dangerous exigent content.
212          (c) If a social media corporation provides notice to the attorney general under this
213     section, the social media corporation is not required to notify the account holder that the social
214     media corporation has moderated the post or account.
215          Section 7. Section 13-58-204 is enacted to read:
216          13-58-204. Appeal process.
217          (1) A moderator who was not involved in the original moderation decision shall review
218     each appeal form.
219          (2) The moderator shall provide to the account holder, in writing:
220          (a) an explanation of whether the post or account violates the social media
221     corporation's terms of use;
222          (b) an explanation of why the social media corporation:
223          (i) treated the examples the account holder provided on the appeal form differently
224     than the social media corporation treated the account holder's post or account; or

225          (ii) will moderate the examples the account holder provided; and
226          (c) a conclusion stating whether:
227          (i) the social media corporation engaged in an inequitable moderation practice in
228     moderating the post or account;
229          (ii) there is a possibility that the social media corporation engaged in an inequitable
230     moderation practice in moderating the post or account; or
231          (iii) the social media corporation acted properly in moderating the post or account.
232          (3) The moderator shall provide the written response no more than 30 days after the
233     day on which the social media corporation receives the appeal form.
234          (4) No more than 24 hours after the moderator concludes the social media corporation
235     engaged in an inequitable moderation practice in moderating the post or account, the social
236     media corporation shall reinstate the moderated post or account in the post or account's original
237     form.
238          Section 8. Section 13-58-301 is enacted to read:
Part 3. Enforcement

240          13-58-301. Investigative powers of the division.
241          (1) The division shall establish and administer a system to receive consumer
242     complaints regarding whether a social media corporation has committed a violation.
243          (2) (a) The division may investigate a consumer complaint to determine whether the
244     social media corporation has committed a violation.
245          (b) If the results of the division's investigation give the director reasonable cause to
246     believe that substantial evidence exists that a social media corporation identified in a consumer
247     complaint has committed a violation, the director shall refer the matter to the attorney general.
248          (c) Upon request, the division shall provide consultation and assistance to the attorney
249     general in enforcing this chapter.
250          Section 9. Section 13-58-302 is enacted to read:
251          13-58-302. Enforcement powers of the attorney general.
252          (1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the attorney general has the exclusive

253     authority to enforce this chapter.
254          (2) Nothing in this chapter creates a private right of action.
255          (3) Upon referral from the division, the attorney general may initiate an enforcement
256     action against a social media corporation that commits a violation.
257          (4) (a) At least 30 days before the day on which the attorney general initiates an
258     enforcement action against a social media corporation, the attorney general shall provide the
259     social media corporation:
260          (i) written notice identifying each alleged violation; and
261          (ii) an explanation of the basis for each allegation.
262          (b) The attorney general may not initiate an action if the social media corporation:
263          (i) cures the noticed violation within 30 days after the day on which the social media
264     corporation receives the written notice described in Subsection (4)(a); and
265          (ii) provides the attorney general an express written statement that:
266          (A) the social media corporation cured the violation; and
267          (B) no further violation will occur.
268          (c) The attorney general may initiate a civil action against a social media corporation
269     that:
270          (i) fails to cure a violation after receiving the notice described in Subsection (4)(a); or
271          (ii) after curing a noticed violation and providing a written statement in accordance
272     with Subsection (4)(b), commits another violation.
273          (d) In an action described in Subsection (4)(c), the attorney general may recover:
274          (i) actual damages to the consumer; and
275          (ii) for each violation, a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 per consumer affected by
276     the violation.
277          (5) The attorney general shall bring an action under this chapter in:
278          (a) the district court located in Salt Lake City; or
279          (b) the district court for the district in which resides a consumer who is affected by the
280     violation.

281          (6) All civil penalties received from an action under this chapter shall be deposited into
282     the Protecting Internet Speech Restricted Account established in Section 13-58-303.
283          Section 10. Section 13-58-303 is enacted to read:
284          13-58-303. Protecting Internet Speech Restricted Account.
285          (1) There is created within the General Fund a restricted account known as the
286     "Protecting Internet Speech Restricted Account."
287          (2) The account shall be funded by money received through civil enforcement actions
288     under this chapter.
289          (3) Upon appropriation, the division or the attorney general may use money deposited
290     into the account for:
291          (a) investigation and administrative costs incurred by the division in investigating
292     consumer complaints alleging violations of this chapter;
293          (b) recovery of costs and attorney fees accrued by the attorney general in enforcing this
294     chapter; and
295          (c) providing consumer and business education regarding:
296          (i) consumer rights under this chapter; and
297          (ii) compliance with the provisions of this chapter for social media corporations.
298          (4) If the balance of the account exceeds $1,000,000 at the close of any fiscal year, the
299     Division of Finance shall transfer the amount that exceeds $1,000,000 into the General Fund.
300          Section 11. Section 13-58-304 is enacted to read:
301          13-58-304. Attorney general report.
302          (1) The attorney general and the division shall compile a report:
303          (a) evaluating the liability and enforcement provisions of this chapter, including:
304          (i) the effectiveness of the attorney general's and the division's efforts to enforce this
305     chapter; and
306          (ii) any recommendations for changes to this chapter; and
307          (b) summarizing the moderation practices protected and not protected by this chapter,
308     including a list of alleged violations the attorney general and the division have received.

309          (2) The attorney general and the division may update the report as new information
310     becomes available.
311          (3) The attorney general and the division shall submit the report to the Business and
312     Labor Interim Committee before July 1, 2024.
313          Section 12. Section 13-58-401 is enacted to read:
Part 4. Severability

315          13-58-401. Severability.
316          If any provision of this chapter or the application of any provision to any person is held
317     invalid by a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this chapter
318     shall be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
319          Section 13. Effective date.
320          This bill takes effect on July 1, 2022.