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Drudge, Facebook, NYT readers could face libel suits for sharing 'fake news' [Former Dem FEC Chair]
Washington Examiner ^ | 10/18/17 | Paul Bedard

Posted on 10/19/2017 5:49:01 AM PDT by markomalley

Political content on the internet, paid or not, should face substantial federal regulation to eliminate undefined "disinformation," and users of platforms and news feeds, from Facebook, to Twitter, to the Drudge Report and even New York Times, could be punished for sharing "fake news" from those sites, the former Democratic chair of the FEC is urging.

In a broad proposal that adds threatening libel suits to regulatory plans already pushed by Democrats on the Federal Election Commission, ex-chair Ann Ravel believes that there is support for expanded regulation in the wake of reports foreign governments spent $100,000 on 2016 political ads on Facebook.

She would include "fake news," not just paid ads, to be regulated, though it's never defined other than the Democrat's description of "disinformation." And anybody who shares or retweets it could face a libel suit.

She would also use regulation to "improve voter competence," according to the new proposal titled Fool Me Once: The Case for Government Regulation of ‘Fake News.' Ravel, who now lectures at Berkeley Law, still has allies on the FEC who support internet regulation. The paper 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.

The proposal immediately came under fire from from the Republican FEC commissioner who for years has been warning of the left's effort to regulate political talk they don't like, especially on conservative newsfeeds like Drudge.

Lee Goodman told Secrets, "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."

He was especially critical of the undefined nature of "disinformation" to be regulated and the first-ever call for libel suits to snuff out talk Ravel doesn't like.

In their proposal, the trio 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."

Goodman said, "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."

And Andrew Woodson, an elections lawyer and partner at Wiley Rein LLP added, "Any proposal built on intimidating Americans from sharing news stories on social media is headed in the wrong direction."

They also want to build a national database of all regulated political ads and discussions, a potential invasion of privacy especially for bloggers or people who comment on news and Facebook posts, Goodman warned.

"Americans should not be required to sign a national registry everytime they post a political video on YouTube," he said.

Ravel is clearly concerned about how the internet is used to influence voters and is also worried voters aren't educated enough to know they are being given bad info. She is also worried about the financial disclosure, sometimes not required if no money is involved.

"The money involved in online political advertising is more diffuse than ad buys on traditional media. Like traditional ads, some ads produced for the Internet have high production costs. Others, like memes, are free to create. Unlike television and radio ads, some online ads are placed for free. Posting an ad to one's Facebook Page, or tweeting it into a politically active social network in hopes it goes viral, costs nothing. Advertisers might pay a platform to promote the ad and place it in certain users' newsfeeds. They might also buy ‘likes,' ‘shares,' and ‘retweets' outside of the platforms, from ‘troll farms' and ‘sock puppets,' which are humans who create false profiles and boost content, or from ‘bot armies,' which are machines mimicking human behavior to boost content," the trio wrote.

Their full proposal can be seen here.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: drudge; fec; fecregulations; regulations
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1 posted on 10/19/2017 5:49:01 AM PDT by markomalley
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To: markomalley

First Amendment right to lie.


2 posted on 10/19/2017 5:50:17 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: markomalley

It gets old trying to ferret out the truth nowadays, pretty much you just have to ignore it all.


3 posted on 10/19/2017 5:51:05 AM PDT by Daniel Ramsey (Thank YOU President Trump, finally we can do what America does best, to be the best)
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To: markomalley

A lie is as good as the truth, if you get somebody to believe it! Just ask the DemocRATS!


4 posted on 10/19/2017 5:53:29 AM PDT by Road Warrior 04 (Molon Labe! (Oathkeeper))
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To: Daniel Ramsey

This will get about as much traction as suing teenagers for downloading songs did in the day.


5 posted on 10/19/2017 5:53:32 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heroes have always been cowboys)
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To: markomalley

What about CNN, MSN, Huffington Post, NY Times, WaPo, LA Times, Politico, Slate, Time, Newsweak, abc, NBC, SeeBS and Vox viewers and readers? What do THEY face? This looks like another commie lib attack on the First Amendment to me.


6 posted on 10/19/2017 5:54:04 AM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (Has Sheila JACKSON LEE changed her name yet?)
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To: markomalley

“Any proposal built on intimidating Americans from sharing news stories on social media is headed in the wrong direction.”

Obviously that depends on who is looking at it; Dems need a media blackout to win, while free people need information.


7 posted on 10/19/2017 5:55:18 AM PDT by kearnyirish2 (Affirmative action is economic warfare against white males (and therefore white families).)
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To: markomalley

It would seem like this would be a magnet for trouble. You could bring McCain in and interview him, and days later figure out that he passed fake commentary or info to the general public. The same could occur with journalists from the WaPo.


8 posted on 10/19/2017 5:56:20 AM PDT by pepsionice
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To: markomalley

Absurd. The libel suit would need to demonstrate that a person sharing the story (1) knew that the story was fake and (2) had a primary intent to harm the subject.

If the person sharing the story can reasonably assert that they had no way of knowing whether the story was true or false, they are innocent of libel.

If the person sharing the story can reasonably claim that they weren’t trying to assert the story was true, but merely trying to present what sort of content was being said about the subject, then their primary intent was not to harm, and therefore they are innocent of libel.

EVEN the people generating the news, if they can reasonably claim that their intent was clickbait, not malicious harm, they are innocent of libel.

The only people I would suspect might be charged with libel are those the Democrats don’t want to go after: the endless Facebook groups like “I F***ing Hate Republicans” or “Too Smart to Vote Republican,” etc.


9 posted on 10/19/2017 5:56:50 AM PDT by dangus
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To: markomalley

DemonicRats desperately want to create a Ministry of Truth that rules on what the “truth” is and therefore what information can be allowed to be released.


10 posted on 10/19/2017 5:57:28 AM PDT by rigelkentaurus
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To: markomalley
Is this fake news?¿ °.⊙j
11 posted on 10/19/2017 5:57:57 AM PDT by Leep (Less talk more ACTiON!)
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To: markomalley

“There is no such thing as objective truth” is a basic tenet of liberalism.


12 posted on 10/19/2017 5:57:58 AM PDT by Steely Tom ([Seth Rich] == [the Democrat's John Dean])
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To: markomalley
I've been banned twice from Facebook in the last month, for posting a cartoon that says there are only 2 genders- all the rest are mental disorders

I've written to any vendors that I have contacted through Facebook ads that I will NOT be doing business with them after all, because I found them on Facebook, and Facebook has censored me.

Maybe if a few million of us start doing that Facebook advertisers will send a message.

Also, they paid for advertising 'eyeballs' on FB's page, and I am no longer on FB's site... So what are they paying for?

This is the image they deemed too "offensive" without telling me who finds it offensive:


13 posted on 10/19/2017 5:58:45 AM PDT by Mr. K (***THERE IS NO CONSEQUENCE OF REPEALING OBAMACARE THAT IS WORSE THAN OBAMACARE ITSELF***)
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To: markomalley
Am I reading this right? If NYT publishes fake news and you share it, you can be sued? What about NYT?

I tell ya', Libs are getting dumber and more desperate with each passing day!

14 posted on 10/19/2017 5:58:49 AM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: markomalley

The Leftist Democrats are desperate to impose censorship and silence anyone who disagrees with them. They will not give up on this. It has no chance now but if they are ever in a position to do it the Iron Curtain will come down.


15 posted on 10/19/2017 5:59:15 AM PDT by Bayan
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To: markomalley

“reports foreign governments spent $100,000 on 2016 political ads on Facebook.”

100K? They’re worried about 100K??

That’s less than a drop in the bucket when you consider that there was over a billion dollars spent on ads in the last election.


16 posted on 10/19/2017 6:05:28 AM PDT by aquila48
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To: markomalley
How this will play out:

You get the idea.

17 posted on 10/19/2017 6:06:04 AM PDT by pepsi_junkie
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To: markomalley
Pretty much this leads to licenses required to ‘report’ news.

Government Pravda, here we come.

18 posted on 10/19/2017 6:07:15 AM PDT by Sir Napsalot (Pravda + Useful Idiots = USSR; Journ0List + Useful Idiots = DopeyChangey)
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To: markomalley

Who gets to decide what is real news and what is fake news. ABC, NBC, CNN.... They’s all be out of business in a month with the libel suits against the Russia/Trump BS crap they have been peddling for over a year.


19 posted on 10/19/2017 6:13:49 AM PDT by Tenacious 1 (You couldn't pay me enough to be famous for being stupid!)
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To: markomalley

20 posted on 10/19/2017 6:19:36 AM PDT by Beowulf9
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