Extremism, misinformation, and abuse on the Internet pose a serious threat to our democracy. In late 2020, as Trump’s lies about the election spread across social media platforms, ultimately helping incite the deadly attack on the Capitol, we saw just how much damage unchecked misinformation could cause. But these problems are not new: online harassment and abuse, largely targeted at women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ people, has been a persistent issue for years, limiting their ability to fully engage in public life. 

Big Tech companies have taken some steps to address these abuses, but it hasn’t been enough. It’s time for the federal government to step up and more aggressively regulate the tech giants that have allowed misinformation and abuse to proliferate on social media, harming democracy in the United States and around the world. Several bills under consideration in Congress, including HR 3421, the Safeguarding Against Fraud, Exploitation, Threats, Extremism and Consumer Harms Act, would significantly strengthen accountability for companies that do not effectively prevent their platforms from being used to advance misinformation, harassment, abuse, and civil rights violations. 

Lies and misinformation can spread like wildfire through social media, and it’s time to see real action to limit its reach. Congress should act swiftly to address the challenges of online harassment, abuse, and misinformation. 

Read More in Letters