The Volokh Conspiracy

Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent

Free Speech

New Colorado Bill Would Create Commission to Restrict "Hate Speech," "Fake News," "Conspiracy Theories" on Social Media Platforms

The bill was introduced by Colorado Senate president pro tem Kerry Donovan (who is also running for Congress).


The bill, introduced Friday, would create a state "digital communications division" and "digital communications commission" that would, among other things, "investigate and … hold hearings on claims … that a digital communications platform"—which includes "social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and media-sharing platforms like YouTube and Twitch"—"has allowed a person to engage in one or more unfair or discriminatory digital communications practices on the platform," including

  • "practices that promote hate speech;
  • undermine election integrity;
  • disseminate intentional disinformation, conspiracy theories, or fake news; or
  • authorize, encourage, or carry out violations of users' privacy."

None of these terms are defined in the bill. And the bill is all about suppressing the "unfair or discriminatory" speech:

If the adjudicator at the hearing determines that the respondent engaged in an unfair or discriminatory digital communications practice, the commission may issue and cause to be served on the respondent an order requiring the respondent to cease and desist from the practice and to take action that the commission orders.