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Published On: Sun, Apr 22nd, 2018

California bill goes full on ‘1984’ will Internet fact checking of news according to ‘standards of the state’

If all of this sounds like a George Orwell novel, well…it does.

The California bill, titled SB1424, or the “Internet: Social Media: False Information: Strategic Plan,” would mandate anyone operating a website in California to fact-check the news they post according to the standards of the state. Here is the actual wording:

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.

Written by State Senator Dr. Richard Pan, the bill aims to control news websites and the content those websites produce and distribute. It would impact only those companies who operate a social media website and who have a physical address or presence in California.

Jeff Powers put together a perfect list of questions for lawmakers:

  1. Who is responsible for writing the “strategic plan?”
  2. Who is the gatekeeper of truth?
  3. What is the criteria for who gets hired as “fact-checkers” for story verification?
  4. How is this enforced?
  5. Who is responsible for outreach to social media users?
  6. Will this stifle free speech?
  7. Who is in charge of placing “warnings” on a story, and who writes that language?
  8. Does the business incur the legal fees associated with the application of these new regulations?
  9. Does the business incur the legal fees associatied with any legal action taken against it due to these new regulations?
  10. Will a legal liability be created for failure to correct false information?

So let’s get more specific:

Would it be illegal to call homosexuality a sin? How about transgenderism a mental illness? Would an article questioning global warming require a “warning”? How about abortion?

On Fox Business former New Jersey Superior Court judge Andrew Napolitano said of Pan’s bill, “This is censorship the likes of which I haven’t seen in law since World War 2 where the government censored certain speech that it thought was dangerous to national security. The last time in history I saw something like this was that time period.”

photo/Piotr VaGla Waglowski, http://www.vagla.pl

About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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