California State Senator Richard Pan (D) has introduced legislation to crack down on free speech on the internet.
Pan’s legislation would force online publishers to utilize government-sanctioned “fact checkers” to approve content before it is posted online.
The bill is titled “SB1424 Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan.”
While the legislation targets speech on social media companies based in California, the wording it appears to define social media as any Internet blog, website, or communication.
SB1424 is brief. Read it:
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.
(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.
Getting the picture?
Critics say this is another step in the movement towards an Orwellian sytem where the government defines truth–and the meaning of words.
This is not the first time that Pan has sponsored or co-sponsored bills that are dangerous to democratic principles. In 2016 he led town hall discussions on California Senate Bill 18 which would have stripped parents of all rights in the raising of their children.