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August 31, 2022 12:27 pm

Bill Meant to Combat Hateful Online Content Passes California Legislature

avatar by Dion J. Pierre

Laptop. Photo: Public Domain.

The California State Assembly on Tuesday voted to approve a social media transparency bill following its passage in the senate the previous day, garnering praise from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The legislation, Assembly Bill 587, would require social media companies to update the state attorney general’s office on its efforts to moderate content that is hateful, disinformative, conspiratorial, or serving the interest of hostile regimes. It now awaits a signature from Governor Gavin Newsom.

“Today marks a momentous day in making our internet a safer place for all,” Kendall Kosai, Director of Policy for the ADL’s Western Division said. “Despite the fierce opposition from big social media platforms, our coalition of over 90 supporting organizations didn’t back down and the California State Legislature heard our call for action.”

The ADL’s latest assessment of internet hate speech, “Online Hate and Harassment: The American Experience 2022,” included surveys showing that 65% of Jews, women, and people of color experienced hate speech and harassment on social media. 68% reported that the incidents occurred on Facebook. 26% said they were targeted on Instagram, and 23% on Twitter.

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The ADL has argued that hate crimes, mass shootings, and rising cases of poor mental health are caused in part by social media companies’ indifference to what is shared on their websites.

“Most social media platforms, despite being aware of the dangers, have taken few steps to resolve them,” the group said.

California legislator passed another bill for protecting internet users on Tuesday, AB 2273, Los Angeles Times reported. It would require social media companies to curb their mining of data generated by minors, as well as prevent strangers from contacting them.

Both bills were passed with bipartisan support.

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