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Saturday, July 20, 2024

California & New York Dems. Cracking Down on Alleged Online Misinformation

'The proliferation of misinformation can have a severe impact on the psychological and emotional well-being of Californians... '

California and New York‘s Democratic state lawmakers have introduced legislation that will force social media companies to prevent so-called misinformation from spreading online and to have more transparent content policies, Georgia Star News reported.

New York state Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Greenwich Village, introduced Senate Bill 7568 on Dec. 27 to ensure that social media companies will no longer allow posts promoting “vaccine hesitancy” or containing “disinformation, violent hate speech, and other unlawful content that could harm others.”

The bill aims at social media companies that use “algorithms designed to promote the most controversial and harmful content, which creates a general threat to public health and safety.”

Hoylman announced the bill before the January 6th anniversary because he believes that social media companies helped “domestic terrorists plan a riot at the U.S.  Capitol.”

He said that his bill will avoid liability protections that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act grants to social media platforms in exchange for their role as a netural host for content.

“Social media websites are no longer simply a host for their users’ content, however,” Hoylman’s press release said. “Social media companies employing these algorithms are not an impassive forum for the exchange of ideas; they are active participants in the conversation.”

California Assemblyman Ed Chau, D-Monterey Park, announced Assembly Bill 35 on Dec. 7—three days before he resigned from the General Assembly.

The bill would require social media companies to disclose their policies on reducing misinformation or content “that contributes to the risk of imminent violence or physical harm.”

“The proliferation of misinformation can have a severe impact on the psychological and emotional well-being of Californians, which makes access to accurate information all the more important,” Chau said in a press release.

Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said transparency legislation like AB 35 and a similar bill, AB 587, would “move us closer to holding social media companies accountable for the hate and harassment they allow on their platforms.”

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