By Aaron Kesel
A former commissioner of the Federal Election Commission, Ann Ravel, has proposed an insane new law that seeks to punish readers of news with libel if a story is deemed false. Yes, you read that right, she wants to charge you the person reading this right now. Talk about an Orwellian law.
The new proposal is titled Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of ‘Fake News.’ and would be implemented to “improve voter competence.”
This crazy woman wants to charge you simply for sharing “fake news” on Facebook, Twitter or in a comment section. Does Ravel realize she lives in the U.S., not communist China where information is filtered? Oh, but she’s not the only one off her rocker forgetting her Constitution baby bottle. The measure was co-written by Abby K. Wood, an associate professor at the University of Southern California, and Irina Dykhne, a student at USC Gould School of Law.
In their proposal, they wrote, “after a social media user clicks ‘share’ on a disputed item (if the platforms do not remove them and only label them as disputed), government can require that the user be reminded of the definition of libel against a public figure. Libel of public figures requires ‘actual malice,’ defined as knowledge of falsity or reckless disregard for the truth. Sharing an item that has been flagged as untrue might trigger liability under libel laws.”
“Ann’s proposal is full blown regulation of all political content, even discussion of issues, posted at any time, for free or for a fee, on any online platform, from Facebook to the NewYorkTimes.com,” Republican FEC commissioner, Lee Goodman told Washington Examiner‘s “Secrets.”
A fatal flaw of Ann’s proposal is that it cannot define what is, or is not, ‘disinformation’ in a political message. Nevertheless, it proposes to tag threats of libel lawsuits and liability to thousands of American citizens who might want to retweet or forward a message that somebody else subjectively considers to be ‘disinformational.’ I call that the big chill.
Ravel would seek for regulation for “fake news,” not just paid ads, though the coined term by U.S. President Trump isn’t defined other than the Democrat’s description of “disinformation” which is quite broad.
The other two remaining questions are how the group would seek to accomplish being able to charge someone with a crime for just sharing a post with a link to an article, and who would “officially” determine whether an article is fake or not? With the existence of technologies like VPN’s and TOR that could mask ones’ real IP address and users using aliases online. To demask users would almost certainly be a feat in itself causing a stir at the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and other privacy right organizations.
With U.S. President Donald Trump nominating Trey Trainor, a far-right lawyer from Texas to serve on the six-person panel it makes us less worried this will pass since Republicans now control the FEC committee. However, this proposal to sue readers simply for circulating a news article is a big exposure of the State and a new low. This measure is literally out of George Orwell’s 1984, attempting to control the flow of information by labeling everything “fake news.”