New Hawley Bill Allows Private Citizens to Sue Big Tech Platforms for Hosting CSAM

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Today U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) introduced the Everyone can Notice-and-Takedown Distribution of Child Sexual Abuse Material (END CSAM) Act, new legislation allowing private citizens to sue Big Tech platforms for hosting CSAM.

“The exploitation of children online must be stopped,” said Senator Hawley. “Social media companies have proven to be hubs for child sexual abuse material, and they need be held accountable for their failures. My legislation empowers the American people to bring suit against these Big Tech companies, protecting our children online and cleaning up the internet in the process.” 

The END CSAM Act would

  • Create a legal framework through which private plaintiffs can sue, on behalf of the government, companies that host child exploitation content. Plaintiffs will be empowered to bring civil lawsuits against companies that display CSAM on their websites. The government will have an option to intervene in the action and prosecute it independently, or may allow the private plaintiff to do so. In either case, the private plaintiff will be able to recover money damages.
  • Drastically curtail the spread of child exploitation material online. Under threat of third-party litigation, Big Tech companies would have a powerful incentive to use all the tools available to them to take down child exploitation content before it spreads, or screen user-uploaded content for it before it appears on the platform in the first place.

Read full bill text here.