The California State Legislature approved a bill to curb “extreme and dangerous content” on social media platforms, including hate, disinformation and harassment.
If signed into law, AB 587, which is the first bill of its kind, would force social media sites to publicly disclose their policies on hate and extremist content, as well as releasing related key metrics and data.
“Californians are becoming increasingly alarmed about the role of social media in promoting hate, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and extreme political polarization,” Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel said.
“It’s long past time for tech companies to provide real transparency into how they are shaping our public discourse. The public and policymakers deserve to know when social media companies are amplifying certain voices and silencing others. This is an important step in a broader effort to protect our vulnerable communities and hold Big Tech accountable.”
Gabriel said in a statement that the bill was part of an effort by state lawmakers to regulate tech companies to address “harms from social media.”
Citing studies linking hate-motivated violence, mass shooting and online activity, Gabriel noted that recent perpetrators of mass shootings have used social media to “engage in hateful activity and were often radicalized online.”
With the Department of Homeland Security recently warning of extremist, copycat behavior in online forums following the Uvalde shooting, and social media companies having a “troubling lack of transparency,” AB 587 would require platforms to “file reports disclosing their corporate policies on hate speech, disinformation, extremism, harassment, and foreign political interference, as well as their efforts to enforce those policies.”