Checking The “Fact-Checkers”
Another ideological debate is coming to the forefront in the state legislature. One side says your rights to free speech are involved. The other in so many words is responding with, "hogwash".
If you do much on social media, you’re no doubt aware of the impact of “Fact-Checkers”. Anonymous people, but sometimes digital apps, that block or erase your comments about an issue or a political candidate or government figure. In some cases, you get a time-out. At times, the checking amounts to being blocked from access or posting on the particular social media platform allowing the censoring. Facebook is best known for allowing and promoting that activity. Twitter is not far behind.
Conservatives in the Michigan state legislature say it has to stop. Many are backing proposed legislation to that end. Legislative liberals on the other hand, and oddly enough, say attempts to hinder “Fact-Checkers” amounts to an assault on the first amendment. Which of course is what many who’ve been checked, erased, and blocked, say not quite, that’s what’s happening to us.
Republican State Representative Matt Maddock is a primary sponsor of the two bills relating to "Fact-Checking". (HB 4813 - HB4814) He points out it is primarily conservative Americans who are getting "body-checked" on social media platforms. His idea is to make those who do the checking, come out from behind the shadows and announce their identity. His plan also requires anyone acting as a so-called “Fact-Checker”, to provide proof of a fidelity bond in the amount of $1 million. If someone who has been thwarted by a “Fact-Checker” can prove in a local District Court they’ve been wrongly censored, the fines will be $1,000 per day while the violation was in effect. To say nothing of a requirement that a local District Court must impose triple damages, reasonable attorney fees, and of course court costs.
Representative Maddock claims a global network of “Fact-Checkers” is a primary target of the bills. He’s recommending people to take advantage of Facebook’s privacy settings to block terms relating to the practice as a good initial step in the fight for personal rights and yes, the First Amendment.
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