BY ANN M. RAVEL AND BRENDA VICTORIA CASTILLO SPECIAL TO THE SACRAMENTO BEE
“For decades, Californians have prided ourselves as global leaders in technology and innovation. The culture of Silicon Valley entrepreneurship and the rise of tenacious start-ups have largely been a boon to the state. At the same time, the past year has demonstrated the destructive power of online disinformation if social media companies are left to make their own rules.
To maintain our role as a leader, California must move beyond simply celebrating technology and social media companies and toward regulating them to promote an equitable, safe online environment.
From the rampant spread of online disinformation about COVID-19 to conspiracy theories about election results; efforts to suppress voters; online hate speech inciting violence, anti-Semitism and vitriol aimed at women, large social media companies have allowed the online world to become overrun with deception and manipulation — much of which targets Latino, Black and Asian and Pacific Islander communities. Combined, those groups represent roughly 60% of Californians. To fix the problem, we need more transparency about how social media companies moderate content and more laws that hold these companies accountable.”