Legislation targets social media hate speech & misinformation

Originally published in WRGB-TV on May 06, 2021.

ALBANY, NY (WRGB) — Some New York lawmakers are pushing for better enforcement against potentially dangerous things being said online.

On Wednesday, A Facebook Oversight Board ruled to uphold the suspension, at least for now, of former president Donald J. Trump. In making that decision though, the Board faulted the social network for incorrectly applying its own standards.

State Senator Anna Kaplan (D-North Hills) and Assemblywoman Pat Fahy (D-Albany) announced a new legislative package. The lawmakers say the three bills would address the rise in hate speech on social media platforms, along with misinformation related to things like vaccines and elections.

The bills would require social media companies to provide ways to report these kinds of posts, and maintain a consistent policy for responding to these reports. Assemblywoman Fahy says the bills are meant to send a strong message.

Assemblywoman Fahy says it's important that the method to report hate speech or misinformation is easily accessible to the public, and that anyone who does report posts gets a response from the social media platform.

The Facebook Oversight Board said the decision to make the ban on former President Trump indefinite was not justified since it "did not follow a clear, published procedure." It shows why supporters of this legislation say these bills could bring more consistency.