While he pretends to embrace “freedom of speech” by promoting the inclusion of obscene books in classrooms and on library shelves, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is leading a statewide campaign to make the government’s unconstitutional involvement in the Censorship-Industrial Complex a permanent fixture of American life.
Nearly one year since Newsom signed AB 587 into law to “protect Californians from hate and disinformation spread online,” California’s attempts to legitimize its attacks on the First Amendment are in full swing.
“California will not stand by as social media is weaponized to spread hate and disinformation that threaten our communities and foundational values as a country,” Newsom said in a September 2022 statement.
The law requires Big Tech companies to submit reports to California Attorney General Rob Bonta detailing how they define terms such as hate speech, racism, extremism, radicalization, disinformation, misinformation, harassment, and foreign political interference and what they do to enforce censorship policies related to those categories. Starting Jan. 1, 2024, companies such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube will be required to disclose how many posts were deemed worthy of suppression, how many people viewed those posts before they were censored, and whether they reinstated the contended post following an appeal from the offending user.
Notably missing from the law’s requirements is a description of what the attorney general’s office plans to do with this information — besides blasting it out to the public. Given Bonta’s history of shamelessly demanding the CEOs of Meta, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit curb the “spread of misinformation and disinformation on social media platforms [that] has led to a proliferation of conspiracy theories, political violence, and threats to democracy ahead of the 2022 midterm elections,” it’s not a stretch to say he intends to use the data to pressure Big Tech into censoring even more content that the state deems wrongthink.
“In 2024, social media platforms will also have additional transparency obligations, as required by recent state legislation that requires disclosures on content moderation practices as it relates to extremism or radicalization, disinformation or misinformation, and foreign political interference, among other areas,” Bonta wrote in the letter to the tech CEOs. “The California Department of Justice will not hesitate to enforce these laws against any individual or group that violates them.”
The Biden administration used similar tactics for the last two years in an attempt to silence regime dissenters on Covid, masking, lockdowns, vaccines, the 2020 election, Biden policies, and the veracity of the Hunter Biden laptop. As of now, the Biden White House is responsible for successfully coercing Big Tech into shutting up “millions of protected free speech postings by American citizens” and siccing its Federal Trade Commission on Big Tech entities that resist, such as Elon Musk’s Twitter.
Newsom’s closeness to the administration that just received a severe scolding from a federal judge for leading “the most massive attack against free speech in United States’ history,” combined with his rumored dream of becoming president, is concerning. That’s mostly because it signals that the government’s role in the Censorship-Industrial Complex could likely live on even if the courts rule against the current regime in Missouri v. Biden.
Californication Of Censorship
In April, creators of the conservative satire website The Babylon Bee filed a lawsuit against California over the contentious law because it “coerces social media companies into restricting various forms of constitutionally protected speech from ‘vast democratic forums’ of the Internet.”
In its complaint, the Bee, which suffered politicized suppression by Twitter in 2022 for accurately calling a man a man, outlined the effects California’s embrace of online speech suppression will have on the rest of the country.
“It is well understood that California has an outsized impact on public policy,” the lawsuit states. “The Golden State’s laws and regulations often drive change across the entire American economy. The reason is simple: the private sector can either comply with Sacramento’s edicts or miss out on participating in the world’s fourth-largest economy.”
For years, California has proudly provided a home to the Silicon Valley giants responsible for throttling free speech. Corporate media pretend the state’s latest Big Tech law is an attack on these companies’ autonomy. In reality, AB 587 will simply give Facebook, Twitter, and other tech platforms yet more cover to remove content the Democrats’ ruling regime doesn’t like.
Now California isn’t just proudly harboring the Silicon Valley giants responsible for throttling free speech. Through this new law, the state both strengthens the relationship between Big Tech and the government through information sharing and emboldens social media companies to embrace their role as the thought police.
Don’t be fooled by fawning headlines claiming “Gov. Newsom Takes Stand Against Censorship.” Newsom and his allies in the California AG’s office and assembly are giving Biden a run for his money in the race to control Americans’ speech. The biggest losers, of course, are Americans and their First Amendment rights.