California Lawmakers Introduce Bills To Help Educate Against Fake News

After Hillary Clinton loss of the Presidential Election, there were a lot of factor people sought to blame. One of the more popular theories was what they called fake news. Fake news is generally defined as news outlets or articles that purposely publish propaganda. Often times they find one factual note and spin it to suit their agenda leaving out the entire story and changing the actual facts. A more detailed definition can be found here.

A large number of Americans have been turning to social media platforms like Facebook to find their news, and while there are honest and genuine news reports on these sites, there is also a large circulation of deliberately false and misleading news stories that have made the rounds.

There is wide disagreement as to what actually constitutes fake news, President Donald Trump and his staff have used the term to describe news articles they feel are unfair. Two California lawmakers are looking to help everyone define what fake news is and get rid of it. AB 155 has been introduced in California and would require the state to provide “civic online reasoning” in its frameworks. They have compiled research that shows that the younger generation are most likely to believe these fake news stories and this bill will help these students learn to judge the credibility as well as the quality of news found on the internet.

The bill states that young people who cannot distinguish between real and fake news are often less informed about important issues and this can pose a direct threat to the democracy of our nation. The bill has a companion in the state Senate, SB 135, that would require the state education board to create a media literacy class. The hope is to make sure that young adults are prepared to distinguish factual news from blatant propaganda and give them the computer skills as well as literacy skills to use social media sites more responsibly. This will empower them to make well informed decisions when it comes to important social, civil, and national matters. Political leaders in California find it disturbing that there is such a lack of education to provide young people with the basic tools needed to distinguish fact from fiction, and feels it is important to empower them with the knowledge to be properly and factually informed.