Former Democratic FEC Chairman, Ann Ravel, is pushing for the introduction of fines for individuals sharing “fake news,” according to a report.
In the proposal, citizens of the United States could face libel penalties for sharing “fake news.”
“After a social media user clicks ‘share’ on a disputed item (if the platforms do not remove them and only label them as disputed), government can require that the user be reminded of the definition of libel against a public figure,” Ravel proposed. “Libel of public figures requires ‘actual malice,’ defined as knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth. Sharing an item that has been flagged as untrue might trigger liability under libel laws.”
According to the Washington Examiner, the proposal could affect “users of platforms and news feeds, from Facebook, to Twitter, to the Drudge Report and even New York Times.”
“She would include ‘fake news,’ not just paid ads, to be regulated, though it’s never defined other than the Democrat’s description of ‘disinformation.’ And anybody who shares or retweets it could face a libel suit,” they reported. “She would also use regulation to ‘improve voter competence,’ according to the new proposal titled Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of ‘Fake News.'”
In response to Ravel’s proposal, former FEC Chairman Lee Goodman claimed, “Ann’s proposal is full blown regulation of all political content, even discussion of issues, posted at any time, for free or for a fee, on any online platform, from Facebook to the NewYorkTimes.com.”
“A fatal flaw of Ann’s proposal is that it cannot define what is, or is not, ‘disinformation’ in a political message,” he continued. “Nevertheless, it proposes to tag threats of libel lawsuits and liability to thousands of American citizens who might want to retweet or forward a message that somebody else subjectively considers to be ‘disinformational.’ I call that the big chill.”
“Americans should not be required to sign a national registry everytime they post a political video on YouTube,” Goodman concluded.
Elections lawyer Andrew Woodson mirrored Goodman’s concerns, adding, “Any proposal built on intimidating Americans from sharing news stories on social media is headed in the wrong direction.”