Kathy Hochul, interim New York Governor, has signed legislation for various things – most notably to force social media to report “hateful conduct.”
The new bills (via news12) cover a wide range of things ranging from upping the age to purchase firearms to even banning the sale of body armor.
The real issue here is this vague language on forcing social media companies to report “Hateful Conduct violations”, or in other words, more legislated hate speech.
Hochul replaced disgraced Andrew Cuomo after his resignation from the sexual abuse scandals and botched COVID response. Hochul has now signed legislation on Monday in response to the tragic shooting in Buffalo.
The New York Governor confirmed the state of NY is going to set up a task force who will focus primarily on “violent extremism” and social media, and the task force will also investigate “the role of social media in promoting domestic terror.”
This will cause social media companies to be required to monitor and report to the NY state government anything they define as “Hateful Conduct”, like the following:
Specifically this legislation defines hateful conduct to mean the use of a social media network to vilify, humiliate, or incite violence against a group, or a class of persons on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnicity, national origin, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.
This, as always, is rather broad language and one would wonder what the New York Governor and their state government would need all of this data for. Historically, we’ve seen tragedies reveal “the shooter was known by authorities“, yet zero action is ever taken.
Furthremore, as we also saw last week in Uvalde Texas, police held parents from going into the school while letting the gunman have free reign over that classroom of small children because “We could be shot.”
It’s worth noting some language in here does lip service to the first amendment, which may cause a temporary reprieve. The penalty is also rather minor considering how large these social media platforms are, but it’s still concerning:
This section also defines social media networks, and requires a social media network that conducts business in New York to provide and maintain a clear and easily accessible mechanism for individual users to report and make complaints of hateful conduct. These mechanisms shall be clearly accessible to users, must be easily accessed from both apps and websites, and shall allow the social media network to provide a direct response to any individual reporting hateful conduct. Further, each social media network will have to create a clear and concise policy that includes how a social media network will respond and address incidents of hateful conduct which have been reported. This section also makes it clear that nothing in this section shall be construed as adversely affecting the rights and freedoms of any person to exercise their First Amendment right. Any social media platform that knowingly fails to comply with these requirements shall be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $1,000 per day.
This “To provide and maintain a clear and easily accessible mechanism for individual users to report and make complaints” request is odd as all large mainstream social media platforms already have this as a feature and have for some time. The address by the New York Governor and state AG Letitia James makes it seem as though they are unaware that the report content feature exists.
It begs the question, how many in government want to make our country like Europe when it comes to government monitoring and policing what you say but not actual violent crime which has been on the rise within New York City.
Also another related bill for the “Domestic terror task force” signed by the New York Governor is NY State Senate Bill S9465.
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