A new bill in New York aims to punish social media companies for disinformation

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PARIS, FRANCE - OCTOBER 08: In this photo illustration, the social medias applications logos, Twitter, Google, Google+, Gmail, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are displayed on the screen of an Apple iPhone on October 08, 2018 in Paris, France. Google has decided to close its Google+ social network after discovering a security vulnerability that has affected the data of at least 500,000 users. (Photo Illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

New York has introduced a new bill to hold social media companies accountable for their actions on social media. This would allow order against anything that would cause self-harm or unlawful content.

Social media’s usage rate has skyrocketed in the past decade and has also taken over culture. In May 2011, about 50% of American adults said they used social media. In February 2021, this number jumped to around 72%. New platforms and opportunities that come with social media will cause this number to rise in the future. However, more people on social media would allow disinformation to reach more people.

Social media companies have been able to produce content that this bill would go against because of section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act. They aren’t held liable for the content that they post. This caused New York to make a stand, led by Senator Bill Holyman.

“We need real world solutions to the growing problems of online disinformation and hate speech…peopleís lives are endangered everyday and nobodyís being held accountable.”

Bill Holyman

Holyman also expanded on his reasoning behind this new bill via a Twitter thread.

“Hate speech. Anti-vaxx lies. Eating disorders.

We know that algorithms written by social media platforms prioritize these messages.

Thatís why Iíve introduced legislation to hold platforms liable for hate & lies their algorithms promote.”

Bill Holyman

Arguments against this new Bill

Though this bill sounds good in theory, tech law experts say it’ll be hard to pass. Because it is restricting companies and what they can post, it robs them of their ability for freedom in what they can and can’t post, according to internet law professor Eric Goldman.

ďThis billís attempt to restrict the dissemination of that constitutionally protected content is facially unconstitutional.

Eric Goldman

Though there are good intentions behind this bill’s introduction, it takes freedom from social media companies. However, the bill can be an idea that can turn into something fair for everyone in the future to make social media safe for everyone.

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