California may make social media firms report enforcement

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Social media companies would have to make public their policies for removing problem content and give detailed accounts of how and when they remove it, under a proposal being considered by California legislators who blame online chatter for encouraging violence and undermining democracy.

The bipartisan measure stalled last year over free speech concerns, but Democratic Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel said Tuesday he hopes to revive his bill by adding amendments he said will make it clear that lawmakers don’t intend to censor or regulate content.

But his bill would require companies to say how they regulate their own content under their social media terms of service.

“We think we’ve found a way to thread that needle,” Gabriel said during a news conference promoting what he said is first-of-its-kind legislation. “We’re not telling you what to do — but tell policymakers and tell the public what you are doing.”

“There’s nothing in this bill that requires companies to censor speech,” he added. “There’s nothing that requires them to silence certain voices or to amplify other content. It simply requires them to be honest and transparent about when they are amplifying certain voices and when they are silencing others.”

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