California is losing its collective mind.
A bill was introduced back on February 17 by the California State Assembly, which attempts to ban “fake news” – a difficult term to define. Wednesday, March 29, saw the bill filed to the Assembly’s Committee on Privacy and Consumer Affairs.
The bill, which would ultimately amend the California Political Cyberfraud Abatement Act, would make it illegal to spread so-called “false or deceptive” information.
The following is a portion of the proposed amendment as it stands:
It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and willingly make, publish or circulate on an Internet Web site, or cause to be made, published, or circulated in any writing posted on an Internet Web site, a false or deceptive statement designed to influence the vote on either of the following:
(a) Any issue submitted to voters at an election.
(b) Any candidate for election to public office.
As previously stated, the term “fake news” is hard to define and given this, the text that makes up the amendment is equally ambiguous and does not in explicit language define what “false or deceptive” information, or statements, are, which would allow for subjective interpretations of the law to be used to discredit or devalue narratives that are counter intuitive to the individual/entity attempting to use the law for some sort of claim.
Another major problem that will undoubtedly arise is the prospect of an individual using social media who wishes to explore political ideologies that could be in stark contrast, or contradiction to, the people who are carrying out the law.
The bill is fundamentally flawed.
A memo attempts to clarify certain aspects of the bill:
This bill will fuel a chaotic free-for-all of mudslinging with candidates and others being accused of crimes at the slightest hint of hyperbole, exaggeration, poetic license, or common error. While those accusations may not ultimately hold up, politically motivated prosecutions—or the threat of such—may harm democracy more than if the issue had just been left alone . . .
At this point in time, it is clear that this bill endangers free speech, it also can be used as a tool by the left to silence opposition in the state of California. The left has been actively attempting to undermine conservative or contradictory thought for far too long and now their efforts are moving toward totalitarian policy measures. It is truly a disgusting dilemma.