New California Law Will Target So-Called ‘Disinformation’ Online

September 16th, 2022 8:29 AM

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he signed a bill that will radically change how social media companies are required to disclose certain policies.

The law, which Newsom called a “transparency measure,” will require social media companies to disclose their policies on so-called “hate speech” and “disinformation” in their terms of service. Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel was the original sponsor of the bill.

In a press release, Newsom claimed that the law will protect Californians from “hate, harassment and lies spread online.”

“California will not stand by as social media is weaponized to spread hate and disinformation that threaten our communities and foundational values as a country,” Governor Newsom claimed. “Californians deserve to know how these platforms are impacting our public discourse, and this action brings much-needed transparency and accountability to the policies that shape the social media content we consume every day.”

Gabriel claimed in the press release the law will stop social media from “promoting hate speech, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and other dangerous content.”

“Social media has created incredible opportunities, but also real and proximate threats to our kids, to vulnerable communities, and to American democracy as we know it,” Gabriel said of the law. “This new law will finally pull back the curtain and require tech companies to provide meaningful transparency into how they are shaping our public discourse, as well as the role of social media in promoting hate speech, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and other dangerous content. I am grateful to Governor Newsom for signing this bill and for his leadership in protecting kids and vulnerable communities online.”

The bill faced significant opposition from social media companies. TechNet, a network of technology CEOs, claimed, according to a California State Assembly document, that social media companies already disclose content moderation policies to the public:

AB 587 requires companies to publicly disclose more than just content moderation policies, which are already available to the public. The bill requires companies to report to the Attorney General sensitive information about how we implement policies, detect activity, train employees, and use technology to detect content in need of moderation. The language makes it explicit that the bill is seeking 'detailed' information about content moderation practices, capabilities, and data regarding content moderation.

Failure to comply with the law could result in a fine of up to $15,000 per violation, per day.

Conservatives are under attack. Contact your representatives and demand that Big Tech be held to account to mirror the First Amendment while providing transparency, clarity on “hate speech” and equal footing for conservatives. If you have been censored, contact us at the CensorTrack contact form, and help us hold Big Tech accountable.