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California Mulls Creation of ‘Fake News’ Advisory Group

Fake News News
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson

The state of California is mulling the creation of a “fake news” advisory group to monitor the spread of information posted on social media.

California Senate Bill SB 1424, which passed the California Senate and is moving through the California Assembly, would call on the state’s attorney general to create an advisory committee consisting of representatives from social media companies, civil liberties groups, First Amendment scholars, and at least one person who works for the Department of Justice.

The bill also gives the attorney general a deadline of April 1, 2019, to create the committee.

Once the committee is assembled, the group would be tasked with studying the spread of online information, determining what is “fake news”  and what is not, and telling social media companies how to stop the spread of “fake news.”

After the committee comes up with their findings, the attorney general would be responsible for presenting the committee’s plan to the state legislature.

Some groups, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have come out against the bill. EFF told CBS Sacramento that the bill would give the government the power to decide what content should be considered true or false, adding that the First Amendment prevents restrictions of content even if the information is false.

The problem of “fake news” is on the minds of many Americans, especially after companies like Facebook have come under fire for determining what content is newsworthy and what is not.

Facebook scrapped its “trending news” section after it was revealed that the editors in Trending discriminated against news content of interest to conservatives and promoted content with a progressive bias.

But the problem of “fake news” stems beyond social media platforms. In a poll released Wednesday, more than two-thirds of Americans said they believe traditional media outlets deliberately report misleading or false stories.

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