Or at least it tiptoes closer.
Big Tech lobbyists have been very quiet about the California social media bill when they were very vocal about Florida’s Big Tech anti-censorship bill, claiming that it violated their First Amendment rights.
It didn’t. Obviously.
But California’s new law is much more significant because it brings Big Tech censorship closer to being state action and a violation of the First Amendment.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed into law a social media transparency measure that he says protects residents from hate and disinformation posts spread through social media platforms.
A.B. 587 will require social media companies to publicly post their policies regarding hate speech, disinformation, harassment and extremism on their platforms and report data on their enforcement of the policies.
The newly signed legislation will also require platforms to file semiannual reports to the state’s attorney general’s office that will disclose their policies on hate speech, extremism and disinformation.
This doesn’t directly cross the line, but it tiptoes closer to it.
Less formally, California had been telling social media platforms what to censor as I documented last year in California’s Internet Censorship Office is Watching What You Say.
A government office created by California Democrats is monitoring hashtags, classifying political speech it opposes by “threat level”, taking screenshots of posts, and then storing the information indefinitely, before reporting the offending speech to social media companies for censorship.
“Election Security is our number one priority,” the Office claims. But its focus isn’t securing elections by fighting hackers or voter fraud. Instead it’s fighting “the spread of mis- and disinformation”. That’s an Orwellian way of saying that it’s fighting and censoring online speech.
The Office of Election Cybersecurity isn’t securing the technology of elections, instead it’s monitoring online speech and flagging views that the government office disagrees with to be taken down by its political allies in California’s Big Tech monopolies that dominate social media.
Since then we’ve learned that the Biden administration has been doing the same thing.
Justice Clarence Thomas already warned that once social media monopolies are acting at the behest of the state, it’s state action and the First Amendment kicks in.
Democrat regimes are moving closer to formalizing censorship which Big Tech, beginning with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have said that they want to see.
California, as usual, is taking the lead by beginning a formal government oversight of online speech.