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HB 3307 - Establishes Requirements for Social Media Companies for Election-Related Content - West Virginia Key Vote

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Title: Establishes Requirements for Social Media Companies for Election-Related Content

Vote Smart's Synopsis:

Vote to pass a bill that establishes requirements for social media companies to prevent corruption and provide transparency of election-related content made available on social media websites.

Highlights:

 

  • Defines “political speech” as speech relating to the state government, body politic, or public administration as it relates to government policymaking. The term includes speech by the government or a candidate for office and any discussion of social issues. The term does not include speech concerning the administration, law, or civil aspects of government (Article 7-4).

  • Alleges it is compellingly important in the interest of the state, its citizens, and voters, to prevent the potential for corruption, widespread intentional or accidental misinformation, disinformation, and unequal treatment generated by social media platforms or providers themselves (Article 8, Sec. 3).

  • Requires social media platforms desiring to disseminate election-related information in West Virginia to ensure (Article 8, Sec. 5):

    • The accuracy of all election-related information that it disseminates;

    • The equal opportunity of use of its platform to all candidates and political parties that appear on West Virginia ballots;

    • Any attempt or action to censor or promote any candidate, party, or political party based on election-related content will not be conducted without prior written notice and due process to the impacted person, political party, or organization, and the express approval of the Chief Elections Officer; and

    • Compliance with the State’s campaign finance laws when the platform’s actions bestow value for one candidate or political party over that of another candidate or political party.

  • Prohibits social media companies from engaging in the following actions (Article 8, Sec. 6.g):

    • Engage in, use, or make available opportunities for untraceable messaging of any election content under any circumstances;

    • Sell, license, transfer, lend, loan, or in any manner monetize election content or data related to election content which is created, obtained, observed, or captured by a social media platform through user or other activity for non-election content;

    • Use any algorithm or manual determination to modify the visibility or availability of election content to any user based on any factor except that the user’s physical residence is located in the state for paid election advertisements or content; and

    • Enact any policy which has a disparate impact, or which results in disparate treatment of persons based upon political opinion.

  • Specifies law does not apply to a social media platform that terminates, suspends, or otherwise restricts access of a candidate, issue advocacy organization, party or political party if the content is (Article 8, Sec. 7):

    • Obscene or pornographic;

    • Unlawful under any federal or state law; or

    • An incontrovertible incitement, as determined by the State Election Commission, to commit criminal conduct or violent acts against others.

  • Prohibits a social media platform from discriminating against a candidate because the candidate exercised the right to opt-out of the sale of his or her personal information by (Article 8, Sec. 3.m):

    • Denying goods or services to the candidate;

    • Charging different prices or rates for goods or services, including through the use of discounts or other benefits or imposing penalties;

    • Providing a different level or quality of goods or services to the candidate;

    • Suggesting that the candidate will receive a different price or rate for goods or services or a different level or quality of goods or services; or

    • Discriminating through any other means because a candidate exercised his or her right to opt-out.

  • Classifies a “Social media website” as an Internet website or application that facilitates or enables users to communicate with each other by posting information, comments, messages, or images and that meets all of the following requirements (Article 7, Sec. 6):

    • Is open to the public;

    • Has more than 1 million subscribers;

    • From its inception, has not been specifically affiliated with any one religion or political party; and

    • Is subject to the provisions of 47 U.S. Code § 230.

Title: Establishes Requirements for Social Media Companies for Election-Related Content

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