A recent California bill seeks to impose state-sanctioned restrictions on news, media, and commentary posted either to social media, blogs, or websites.
Senate Bill 1424 titled, False Information Strategic Plans, would require all media outlets, that are physically present in California to create a plan to mitigate the effects of Fake News, hinder the spread of misinformation, and to deter the effects of false information posted to social media.
The bill defines social media as; an “electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.”
Clearly depicted in the aforementioned is the reality that this bill would not limit its scope to social media sites like Facebook and YouTube; rather, this bill would require virtually any electronic account that posts content online.
While fact-checking news is typically the editor of a publications job, social media giants like Facebook and YouTube have continually avoided the repercussions of their actions because they claim they don’t own the content posted to their platforms all while simultaneously selling user data.
Regardless of the Senator’s definition of social media, the need for a “fact-checker” is prevalent as media itself has in large part become incredibly opinionated. Across the board from print to television, to online publications; typically on the front page of a paper now features an ever-increasing ‘editorial section;’ rather than the historical section for news.
Regardless of the need for some form of a fact-checker for news services; the question is raised, who would the state require to fact-check? History has proven the ills of government approved information, in fact, this is what several governments created to promote the ruling regime and its called propaganda.
The bill does not specifically state who exactly The State would require to fact-check news services, but being that the bill requires a fact-checking service, the very nature of the bill would implement the reality that regardless of what service fact-checks the news, it would still have to be state approved which would allow for the bias of the state to interfere.
Such is the reason for the First Amendment of the Constitution, and such is the reason SB1424 challenges the very nature and fabric that our republic is built on.
The Bill was originally put forth by California State Senator Pan, See the bill.
SB 1424, as amended, Pan.
Commercial law. Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan.
Existing law prohibits a person, among others, from making or disseminating in any advertising device, or in any manner or means whatever, including over the Internet, any statement concerning real or personal property or services that is untrue or misleading, as specified.
This bill would require any person who operates a social media, as defined, Internet Web site with a physical presence in California to develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Web site. The bill would require the plan to include, among other things, a plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories, the utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories, providing outreach to social media users, and placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
The people of the State of California do enact as follows:
SECTION 1. Title 14.5 (commencing with Section 3085) is added to Part 4 of Division 3 of the Civil Code, to read:
TITLE 14.5. False Information Strategic Plans
3085. (a) Any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with physical presence in California shall develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Internet Web site.
(b) The strategic plan shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) A plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories.
(2) The utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories.
(3) Providing outreach to social media users regarding news stories containing false information.
(4) Placing a warning on a news story containing false information.
(c) As used in this section, “social media” means an electronic service or account, or electronic content, including, but not limited to, videos, still photographs, blogs, video blogs, podcasts, instant and text messages, email, online services or accounts, or Internet Web site profiles or locations.