Curtis S. Bramble
8 LONG TITLE
9 General Description:
10 This bill enacts provisions with respect to the regulation of social media corporations.
11 Highlighted Provisions:
12 This bill:
13 ▸ defines terms;
14 ▸ requires social media corporations to, for Utah account holders, provide:
15 • clear information about the social media corporation's moderation practices;
16 • notice to the account holder or the attorney general when the social media
17 corporation uses a moderation practice with respect to a Utah account holder's
18 account; and
19 • an opportunity for a Utah account holder to appeal certain moderation practices
20 that the social media corporation employs on a Utah account holder's account or
23 moderation practices:
24 • a mechanism for a Utah account holder to make a complaint to the Division of
25 Consumer Protection (division) and the attorney general;
26 • a mechanism for the division to investigate alleged violations; and
27 • an enforcement and penalty mechanism for the attorney general if the division
28 refers a violation to the attorney general;
29 ▸ creates a restricted account to deposit penalties and provides for the distributions
30 from the account; and
31 ▸ provides for severability if a provision is found to be invalid.
32 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
34 Other Special Clauses:
35 This bill provides a special effective date.
36 Utah Code Sections Affected:
38 13-2-1, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2020, Chapter 118
40 13-58-101, Utah Code Annotated 1953
41 13-58-102, Utah Code Annotated 1953
42 13-58-201, Utah Code Annotated 1953
43 13-58-202, Utah Code Annotated 1953
44 13-58-203, Utah Code Annotated 1953
45 13-58-204, Utah Code Annotated 1953
46 13-58-301, Utah Code Annotated 1953
47 13-58-302, Utah Code Annotated 1953
48 13-58-303, Utah Code Annotated 1953
49 13-58-304, Utah Code Annotated 1953
50 13-58-401, Utah Code Annotated 1953
52 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
53 Section 1. Section 13-2-1 is amended to read:
54 13-2-1. Consumer protection division established -- Functions.
55 (1) There is established within the Department of Commerce the Division of Consumer
57 (2) The division shall administer and enforce the following:
58 (a) Chapter 5, Unfair Practices Act;
59 (b) Chapter 10a, Music Licensing Practices Act;
60 (c) Chapter 11, Utah Consumer Sales Practices Act;
61 (d) Chapter 15, Business Opportunity Disclosure Act;
62 (e) Chapter 20, New Motor Vehicle Warranties Act;
63 (f) Chapter 21, Credit Services Organizations Act;
64 (g) Chapter 22, Charitable Solicitations Act;
65 (h) Chapter 23, Health Spa Services Protection Act;
66 (i) Chapter 25a, Telephone and Facsimile Solicitation Act;
67 (j) Chapter 26, Telephone Fraud Prevention Act;
68 (k) Chapter 28, Prize Notices Regulation Act;
69 (l) Chapter 32a, Pawnshop and Secondhand Merchandise Transaction Information Act;
70 (m) Chapter 34, Utah Postsecondary Proprietary School Act;
71 (n) Chapter 34a, Utah Postsecondary School State Authorization Act;
72 (o) Chapter 39, Child Protection Registry;
73 (p) Chapter 41, Price Controls During Emergencies Act;
74 (q) Chapter 42, Uniform Debt-Management Services Act;
75 (r) Chapter 49, Immigration Consultants Registration Act;
76 (s) Chapter 51, Transportation Network Company Registration Act;
77 (t) Chapter 52, Residential Solar Energy Disclosure Act;
78 (u) Chapter 53, Residential, Vocational and Life Skills Program Act;
79 (v) Chapter 54, Ticket Website Sales Act;
80 (w) Chapter 56, Ticket Transferability Act; and
81 (x) Chapter 57, Maintenance Funding Practices Act.
82 (y) Chapter 58, Freedom from Biased Moderation Act.
83 Section 2. Section 13-58-101 is enacted to read:
86 13-58-101. Title.
87 This chapter is known as the "Freedom from Biased Moderation Act."
88 Section 3. Section 13-58-102 is enacted to read:
89 13-58-102. Definitions.
90 In this chapter:
91 (1) "Account holder" means a Utah resident who has or opens an account to use a
92 social media corporation's platform.
93 (2) (a) "Dangerous exigent content" means content that indicates the imminent threat or
94 perpetration of a serious crime.
95 (b) "Dangerous exigent content" includes content that:
96 (i) indicates an imminent threat to a particular individual;
97 (ii) indicates an imminent terrorist threat;
98 (iii) indicates or depicts suicide or self-harm;
99 (iv) depicts the sexual exploitation of a minor; or
100 (v) indicates an imminent violation of a grievous sexual offense as that term is defined
101 in Subsection 76-1-601(8).
102 (3) "Director" means the director of the division.
103 (4) "Division" means the Division of Consumer Protection in the Department of
104 Commerce established in Section 13-2-1.
105 (5) "Flag" means the act of a social media corporation singling out a post because of
106 the post's content.
107 (6) "Inequitable moderation practice" means:
109 moderation practice; and
111 (7) (a) "Interactive computer service" means any information service, system, or access
112 software provider that:
113 (i) provides or enables computer access by multiple users to a computer server; and
114 (ii) provides access to the Internet.
115 (b) "Interactive computer service" includes:
116 (i) a web service;
117 (ii) a web system;
118 (iii) a website;
119 (iv) a web application; or
120 (v) a web portal.
121 (8) (a) "Moderation practice" means a method a social media corporation employs to
122 regulate a post.
123 (b) "Moderation practice" includes:
124 (i) flagging a post;
125 (ii) removing a post;
126 (iii) suspending an account holder's account; or
127 (iv) revoking an account holder's access to a platform.
128 (9) (a) "Platform" means an online forum that a social media corporation makes
129 available for an account holder to:
130 (i) create a profile;
131 (ii) upload posts;
132 (iii) view the posts of other account holders; and
133 (iv) interact with other account holders or users.
134 (b) "Platform" does not include:
135 (i) electronic mail; or
136 (ii) an online service, website, or application on which:
137 (A) the majority of the content that is posted or created is posted or created by the
138 provider of the online service, website, or application; and
139 (B) the ability to chat, comment, or interact with other users is directly related to the
140 provider's content.
141 (10) "Post" means content that an account holder makes available on the account
142 holder's account for other account holders or users to view.
143 (11) "Social media corporation" means any domestic corporation or foreign corporation
144 that provides a platform that has at least 20,000,000 account holders and is an interactive
145 computer service.
147 account holder can open or continue to use an account on a platform.
148 (13) (a) "User" means an individual who has access to view the post of an account
150 (b) "User" includes an account holder.
151 (14) (a) "Utah resident" means a person who lives or operates in Utah and:
152 (i) if the person is an individual, has a primary residence in Utah; or
153 (ii) if the person is a business, has a principal place of business in Utah.
154 (b) "Utah resident" does not include a person who has a primary residence or principal
155 place of business in another state.
156 (15) "Violation" means a social media corporation's use of a moderation practice
157 against an account holder that does not comply with the social media corporation's terms of
159 Section 4. Section 13-58-201 is enacted to read:
161 13-58-201. Communication of moderation practices.
162 (1) Beginning on July 1, 2022, and once every year following July 1, 2022, a social
163 media corporation shall clearly communicate to account holders the social media corporation's
164 moderation practices before the account holder continues to engage with the social media
165 corporation's platform.
166 (2) A social media corporation shall ensure that the corporation's communication of
167 moderation practices:
168 (a) provides a complete list of potential moderation practices to all account holders;
170 regarding content that the social media corporation allows on the platform;
171 (c) explains the steps the social media corporation takes to ensure a post or account
173 (d) explains the methods users can use to notify the social media corporation of content
175 (e) includes information about the appeals process described in Section 13-58-204.
176 Section 5. Section 13-58-202 is enacted to read:
177 13-58-202. Prohibited moderation practices.
178 A social media corporation may not:
179 (1) employ inequitable moderation practices; or
180 (2) communicate the information described in Section 13-58-201 in a method that
181 includes any information not specifically related to the social media corporation's moderation
183 Section 6. Section 13-58-203 is enacted to read:
184 13-58-203. Notice requirement.
185 (1) Except as provided in Subsection (5), a social media corporation shall provide
186 written notice to an account holder no more than 24 hours after moderating the account holder's
187 post or account.
188 (2) The notice described in Subsection (1) shall include:
189 (a) a description of the post or account moderated;
190 (b) a description of the method the social media corporation used to moderate the post
191 or account;
193 (d) information about the appeal process; and
194 (e) an appeal form.
195 (3) The account holder shall have 30 days to submit an appeal form.
196 (4) The social media corporation shall make the appeal form:
197 (a) simple to submit;
198 (b) contain an option for the account holder to submit up to five examples of similar
199 content that the social media corporation has not moderated; and
200 (c) contain an option for the account holder to explain why the post or account should
201 not have been moderated.
202 (5) (a) If the post or account that the social media corporation moderates is dangerous
203 exigent content, the social media corporation shall provide written notice to the attorney
204 general as soon as practicable, but no more than 24 hours after moderating the post or account.
205 (b) The written notice to the attorney general shall include:
206 (i) a description of the post or account moderated;
207 (ii) a description of the method the social media corporation used to moderate the post
208 or account; and
209 (iii) a description of why the social media corporation determined that the moderated
210 post or account qualifies as dangerous exigent content.
211 (c) If a social media corporation provides notice to the attorney general under this
212 section, the social media corporation is not required to notify the account holder that the social
213 media corporation has moderated the post or account.
214 Section 7. Section 13-58-204 is enacted to read:
215 13-58-204. Appeal process.
216 (1) A moderator who was not involved in the original moderation decision shall review
217 each appeal form.
218 (2) The moderator shall provide to the account holder, in writing:
219 (a) an explanation of whether the post or account violates the social media
221 (b) an explanation of why the social media corporation:
222 (i) treated the examples the account holder provided on the appeal form differently
223 than the social media corporation treated the account holder's post or account; or
224 (ii) will moderate the examples the account holder provided; and
225 (c) a conclusion stating whether:
226 (i) the social media corporation engaged in an inequitable moderation practice in
227 moderating the post or account;
228 (ii) there is a possibility that the social media corporation engaged in an inequitable
229 moderation practice in moderating the post or account; or
230 (iii) the social media corporation acted properly in moderating the post or account.
231 (3) The moderator shall provide the written response no more than 30 days after the
232 day on which the social media corporation receives the appeal form.
233 (4) No more than 24 hours after the moderator concludes the social media corporation
234 engaged in an inequitable moderation practice in moderating the post or account, the social
235 media corporation shall reinstate the moderated post or account in the post or account's original
237 Section 8. Section 13-58-301 is enacted to read:
239 13-58-301. Investigative powers of the division.
240 (1) The division shall establish and administer a system to receive consumer
241 complaints regarding whether a social media corporation has committed a violation.
242 (2) (a) The division may investigate a consumer complaint to determine whether the
243 social media corporation has committed a violation.
244 (b) If the results of the division's investigation give the director reasonable cause to
245 believe that substantial evidence exists that a social media corporation identified in a consumer
246 complaint has committed a violation, the director shall refer the matter to the attorney general.
247 (c) Upon request, the division shall provide consultation and assistance to the attorney
248 general in enforcing this chapter.
249 Section 9. Section 13-58-302 is enacted to read:
250 13-58-302. Enforcement powers of the attorney general.
251 (1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, the attorney general has the exclusive
252 authority to enforce this chapter.
253 (2) Nothing in this chapter creates a private right of action.
254 (3) Upon referral from the division, the attorney general may initiate an enforcement
255 action against a social media corporation that commits a violation.
256 (4) (a) At least 30 days before the day on which the attorney general initiates an
257 enforcement action against a social media corporation, the attorney general shall provide the
258 social media corporation:
259 (i) written notice identifying each alleged violation; and
260 (ii) an explanation of the basis for each allegation.
261 (b) The attorney general may not initiate an action if the social media corporation:
262 (i) cures the noticed violation within 30 days after the day on which the social media
263 corporation receives the written notice described in Subsection (4)(a); and
264 (ii) provides the attorney general an express written statement that:
265 (A) the social media corporation cured the violation; and
266 (B) no further violation will occur.
267 (c) The attorney general may initiate a civil action against a social media corporation
269 (i) fails to cure a violation after receiving the notice described in Subsection (4)(a); or
270 (ii) after curing a noticed violation and providing a written statement in accordance
271 with Subsection (4)(b), commits another violation.
272 (d) In an action described in Subsection (4)(c), the attorney general may recover:
273 (i) actual damages to the consumer; and
274 (ii) for each violation, a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 per consumer affected by
275 the violation.
276 (5) The attorney general shall bring an action under this chapter in:
277 (a) the district court located in Salt Lake City; or
278 (b) the district court for the district in which resides a consumer who is affected by the
280 (6) All civil penalties received from an action under this chapter shall be deposited into
281 the Protecting Internet Speech Restricted Account established in Section 13-58-303.
282 Section 10. Section 13-58-303 is enacted to read:
283 13-58-303. Protecting Internet Speech Restricted Account.
284 (1) There is created within the General Fund a restricted account known as the
285 "Protecting Internet Speech Restricted Account."
286 (2) The account shall be funded by money received through civil enforcement actions
287 under this chapter.
288 (3) Upon appropriation, the division or the attorney general may use money deposited
289 into the account for:
290 (a) investigation and administrative costs incurred by the division in investigating
291 consumer complaints alleging violations of this chapter;
292 (b) recovery of costs and attorney fees accrued by the attorney general in enforcing this
293 chapter; and
294 (c) providing consumer and business education regarding:
295 (i) consumer rights under this chapter; and
296 (ii) compliance with the provisions of this chapter for social media corporations.
297 (4) If the balance of the account exceeds $1,000,000 at the close of any fiscal year, the
298 Division of Finance shall transfer the amount that exceeds $1,000,000 into the General Fund.
299 Section 11. Section 13-58-304 is enacted to read:
300 13-58-304. Attorney general report.
301 (1) The attorney general and the division shall compile a report:
302 (a) evaluating the liability and enforcement provisions of this chapter, including:
303 (i) the effectiveness of the attorney general's and the division's efforts to enforce this
304 chapter; and
305 (ii) any recommendations for changes to this chapter; and
306 (b) summarizing the moderation practices protected and not protected by this chapter,
307 including a list of alleged violations the attorney general and the division have received.
308 (2) The attorney general and the division may update the report as new information
309 becomes available.
310 (3) The attorney general and the division shall submit the report to the Business and
311 Labor Interim Committee before July 1, 2024.
312 Section 12. Section 13-58-401 is enacted to read:
314 13-58-401. Severability.
315 If any provision of this chapter or the application of any provision to any person is held
316 invalid by a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this chapter
317 shall be given effect without the invalid provision or application.
318 Section 13. Effective date.
319 This bill takes effect on July 1, 2022.