Newsom signs bill mandating transparency from social media firms

California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday he had signed a new social media bill into law to further social media companies’ transparency on hate and discrimination. 

Assembly Bill 587 requires social media companies to post their terms of service on each platform that includes specifying accepted user behavior and activities and those which go against the platform’s policies. 

“Californians deserve to know how these platforms are impacting our public discourse, and this action brings much-needed transparency and accountability to the policies that shape the social media content we consume every day,” Newsom said in a statement released by his office. 

The bill also requires social media companies to submit reports to the Attorney General no later than January 1, 2024 that includes the company’s current terms of service, specified content categories, the company’s guidelines to address said content on their individual platforms, and data relating to content violations. 

Back in May, the California State Assembly approved a bill that would allow parents the ability to sue social media companies for up to $250,000 in the scenario their child’s excessive use of the platform resulted in harm. 

The Social Media Platform Duty to Children Act was authored by Rep. Jordan Cunningham (R-San Luis Obispo), and passed shortly after the deadly school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and 2 teachers dead reignited the social media conversation. 18-year-old Salvador Ramos had posted on Facebook that he was planning on harming his mother and Robb Elementary school. 

The more aggressive social media addiction bill died in the California State Senate shortly after tech industry leaders hosted a junket in Napa to persuade legislators against its enactment.

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Staff reports from The San Joaquin Valley Sun staff.