Many take it for granted that free speech will always be allowed in the United States. However, there is no guarantee that this is in fact the case. A recent bill introduced to the California State Senate would require anyone living in the state to submit any news story, blog post or even text message they want to publish online to state-approved “fact checkers” before putting their content up for the world to see.
The bill is called “Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan” and was introduced by far-left California State Senator Richard Pan. It stipulates that any individual who operates a social media website with a physical presence in the state of California will need to develop a “strategic plan” to verify any news story shared on that website.
According to the bill, the “strategic plan” requires that internet users in that state use fact-checkers to verify any news story being shared online, provide outreach to social media users regarding the sharing of false information and post a warning on any news story that has contains “false information”.
While the bill uses complicated legal language, it is clear that the “fact checkers” who would be required to check all social media posts containing news stories would in fact be state-approved workers. In essence, residents of California would be required by law to ask the state for permission to put up news stories. This permission would be granted or denied based on what a particular state-approved “fact checker” thinks about the story content. Furthermore, the bill makes it clear that the social media requirements aren’t limited to popular platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. It includes any electronic service or account such as video sharing website, photography website, blogs, vlogs, podcasts, text messages and instant messages and email.
It is important to note that even those who do not live in the State of California are sure to be affected by this bill, as the law applies to all social media outlets based in the state. Any blog or social media website that runs on a California-based server would be subject to the new law, even if the person operating the site does not live in California. It is also important to note that what the California state government considers to be “facts” are often considered to be falsehoods by hundreds of millions of people throughout the country.
Consider the fact that a judge in the state recently ruled that Starbucks coffee cups must have a cancer warning. Bloggers and affiliate advertisers who publish news content promoting Starbucks could very well be required to post the same type of warning on their sites or face state-imposed consequences.
Unfortunately, the California government is more likely to go after conservative and libertarian websites that publish content contrary to its point of view. Websites that publish content shedding light on the many problems with vaccination could face harassment, legal action or both, as could sites that post anti-immigration, pro-gun or even pro-Trump content. Given the fact that the government cannot monitor every single site at first, it would likely go after the largest, most popular ones. Once the larger websites have been brought under control, the state could start hounding individual citizens who dare to express news-related opinions that are contrary to the California government’s point of view.
The implications of the “Internet: social media: false information: strategic plan” bill are downright scary. It would essentially limit free speech in a way that this country has never seen. What is more, it could encourage other far-left politicians on a state and national level to bring up similar bills. If such laws were to pass, the country’s internet could quickly become like communist China’s, offering a veneer of free speech to the masses while censoring any content that contains sensitive words or language that could offend the government and government allies.
Free speech is a cornerstone of liberty, and everyone should have the right to share news without fear of punishment. It is up to the readers, not the government, to research what they read online and then decide of their own free will to either believe or discard the information they have just heard.
~ Conservative Zone