The EARN IT Act of 2022 (S.3538 / H.R. 6544) passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in February, and if approved by the U.S. Senate and House, would lead to the censorship of sexual subjects on the Internet. This bill would change Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which allows online platforms to avoid liability for the speech of their users, except when the material is illegal by Federal statute. The EARN IT Act would build on FOSTA-SESTA by creating new, coercive guidelines to force online platforms to moderate and censor content.
NCSF has received reports from licensed marriage and family therapists and sex therapists that their Google and Facebook ads have been declined due to FOSTA-SESTA. One was declined for including “sexual content” because the ad contained the words “sex therapist.” Sex educators also reported censorship, including a sex educator whose 5-year-old video was removed from YouTube for “sexual content” even though it was an educational tutorial about gags. The challenge to the constitutionality of FOSTA continues as Woodhull Freedom Foundation et al recently appealed their case.
Like FOSTA-SESTA, the stated purpose of the EARN IT Act is to eliminate child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and sex trafficking online, however the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in the 3 years since the passage of FOSTA-SESTA, the law has been used only once in prosecuting the promotion of prostitution. A much bigger impact has been the closure of dozens of online platforms, restricting the speech of adult Americans.
A coalition of internet advocates for privacy, sex work and LGBTQ+ advocates oppose the EARN IT Act, as well as the ACLU, the Mozilla Foundation, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Human Rights Watch, Decriminalize Sex Work, and Sex Workers Outreach Project USA.
Please directly contact your two Senators and your Representative at the links below. We also ask you to write to President Biden to provide feedback on the proposed legislation. Sample text for your message is included below.
- Contact your Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/senators-contact.htm
- Contact your Representative here: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative
- Contact the White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Dear [Elected Official],
A wide range of adult communities rely on digital platforms to provide education on consent and to organize with their peers. FOSTA-SESTA has already contributed to the destruction of online platforms, and the EARN IT Act would further the damage.
FOSTA-SESTA was marketed as way to reduce sex trafficking, however the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that in the 3 years since the passage of FOSTA-SESTA, the law has been used only once in prosecuting the promotion of prostitution. A much bigger impact was the closure of dozens of online platforms, restricting the speech of adult Americans.
I believe this bill is un-American and must be defeated.