S. 797PACT Act: Platform Accountability and Consumer Transparency Act

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Bipartisan support with 5 cosponsors

Introduced: March 17, 2021
Status: Referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation in March 2021


The PACT Act does four things.

First, it requires online platforms to explain their content moderation practices in an “acceptable use policy” that is easily accessible to consumers, and to publish a detailed biannual report that includes disaggregated statistics on content that has been removed, demonetized, or deprioritized.

Second, it introduces an obligation for large online platforms to put in place a formal complaint system that processes reports and notifies users of moderation decisions within 21 days. These systems should also allow consumers to appeal content moderation decisions.

Third, it amends Section 230 to require large online platforms to remove court-determined illegal content and activity within 4 days. The PACT Act also opens tech platforms up to civil lawsuits from federal regulators, and gives license to State attorneys general to enforce federal civil law against them. These accountability requirements will be less stringent for small online platforms, depending on their size and capacity.

Finally, the bill requires the Government Accountability Office to study and report on the viability of an FTC-administered whistleblower program for employees or contractors of online platforms, and NIST to develop voluntary standards for “good faith moderation practices.”

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