Goodbye free speech: California Dem. introduces measure requiring fact-checkers for all content — even email

If California Democrat state Sen. Richard Pan has his way, everything posted online — even email — would require verification from state-sanctioned fact-checkers.

The measure, known as Senate Bill 1424, reads:

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.

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(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.

The measure was first introduced in February and has gone through two readings.  On April 4, it was re-referred to the judiciary committee.

There is no analysis on the measure, so we’ll provide some of our own.

As Jon Rappoport correctly notes, the bill defines social media as any Internet blog, website, or communication — including email.

Rappoport adds:

Getting the picture?

It’s a free speech killer.

If it passes, agencies of the California government will develop numerous regulations for enforcement, including penalties for “speech criminals.”

Saying this bill violates the 1st Amendment of the Constitution is a vast understatement. The last time I looked, the Founders mentioned nothing about fact checkers or warnings attached to speech.

“Open borders and a flood of immigration into California are destructive to—wait. My statement has been precluded by warnings and fact-checker overrides…”

Or: “VACCINES ARE DANGEROUS. Ahem, I am making a debatable assertion and I must warn you that official experts strenuously disagree with me, and furthermore, the California Fact Checkers United, a division of Merck-Snopes Thought Police, has determined that my assertion is groundless and harmful to children’s health…”

It’s much more onerous than that, even.  Consider for a moment how many jokes you may send or receive through email.  Under this law, those jokes could be sanctioned by the state.

And of course, anything the state says is false will get flagged.  What’s the penalty for engaging in wrong-think?  No one knows because the bill doesn’t say.

Moreover, does this only apply to online users in California, or does it also apply to those who may reside outside the state but use an online service based in California, like Facebook or Twitter, for example?  The bill is somewhat unclear on that as well.

Rappaport further explains:

In case you believe there are too many websites and blogs based in California to enforce a new draconian law, let me explain how the game works. Behind closed doors, the state government would decide to focus on a few big issues. For example, gun control, vaccines, and immigration. Enforcement agencies would go after the biggest Internet operations expressing politically unacceptable points of view on those subjects. At first. A spread of smaller operations would feel the heat later.

In other words, goodbye free speech.  This has absolutely nothing to do with combating so-called “fake news.”  It has everything to do with stifling and controlling the speech of everyone in the state.  And since California is now ruled by a gang of iron-fisted Democrats like Pan, there’s a good chance it could become law.

Let’s be clear — today’s Democrats are literally fascists seeking to destroy the country and strip us of our freedom.

Just think — this is what Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apparently thinks is “great.”

H/T: Gateway Pundit


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Joe Newby

A 10-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, Joe ran for a city council position in Riverside, Calif., in 1991 and managed successful campaigns for the Idaho state legislature. Co-author of "Banned: How Facebook enables militant Islamic jihad," Joe wrote for Examiner.com from 2010 until it closed in 2016 and his work has been published at Newsbusters, Spokane Faith and Values and other sites. He now runs the Conservative Firing Line.

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