Assembly Bill 587, also known as the Social Media Transparency Bill, passed 9-0 Tuesday in the state Senate Judiciary Committee.
The bill requires social media platforms to publicly disclose community safety guidelines and report data around the enforcement of their policies.
The bill now advances to the Senate Appropriations Committee, then the full Senate for a vote.
“Today’s passage of AB 587 out of the Senate Judiciary Committee is an important step in recognizing that big social media platforms need to take accountability for their hate, disinformation and extremism problem,” Kendall Kosai, director of Policy for the Anti-Defamation League’s Western Division, said Tuesday in a news release. “AB 587 will address this troubling lack of transparency by requiring social media platforms to publicly disclose anonymized, aggregated key data and metrics around the enforcement of their policies. We thank the members for recognizing the urgency of the issue and look forward to a full Senate vote in the coming weeks.”
According to the Online Hate and Harassment report recently released by ADL, 65% of individuals in a marginalized group, including Jews, women and people of color, have experienced hate-based harassment online because of their identity. In addition, 68% of those harassed said at least some harassment happened on Facebook, 26% on Instagram, and 23% on Twitter.
“It is nearly impossible to know the full scope and nature of extremism and hate online,” testified ADL Western States Civil Rights Counsel Beth Holtzman during the state Senate hearing. “We know these harms exist, but we don’t know the extent of them. What we do know is that the problem is too severe and the consequences are too grave to sit by and do nothing.”