House Ethics Rules May Impose Penalty for Posting ‘Manipulated Media’

A proposed House of Representatives rule may take the idea of censoring so-called “misinformation” even further.

The resolution containing the proposed rules of the 117th Congress could impose penalties for members of Congress and congressional employees for spreading “manipulated” content, including on social media.

Nothing says “trust us” quite like Congress trying to censor its own members and staff. According to the proposed rules, 

“The Committee on Ethics is directed to report to the House, not later than December 31, 2021, any recommended amendments to the Code of Official Conduct, as well as any accompanying regulations, intended to address the circumstances and instances, if any, for which a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House may be subject to discipline for the dissemination by electronic means, including by social media, of any image, video, or audio file that has been distorted or manipulated with the intent to mislead the public.” 

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) expressed his outrage in a tweet: “New rule proposed by House Democrats: Members can’t share anything on social media that’s been ‘distorted or manipulated.’ Who’s making that call? Liberal fact-checkers? Give me a break.”

The bill was introduced by Rep. Steny Hoyner (D-NY)  in the House Committee on RulesThe U.S. House bill does not provide a specific definition of “distorted or manipulated” media, but Twitter has defined “synthetic and manipulated media” as material that has been “significantly and deceptively altered or manipulated.” A Facebook blog post from January 2020 explained: “Manipulations can be made through simple technology like Photoshop or through sophisticated tools that use artificial intelligence or ‘deep learning’ techniques to create videos that distort reality.” 

Liberal fact-checkers frequently label content from conservatives, including President Donald Trump, as manipulated media. In June 2020, for example, Twitter labeled a meme video from creator Carpe Donktum. The video was “disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner” and a label that read “Manipulated media” was posted under the tweet. Twitter also labeled a Trump tweet parodying the ‘Despacito’ disaster from former Vice President Joe Biden in September.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the Media Research Center contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.

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