Posted March 03, 2019 05:23:03It’s illegal to post anything online that isn’t real news, according to a new law in Alabama.
In a statement, the Alabama Department of Public Safety and the Alabama Office of Law Enforcement’s (OLES) Criminal Investigative Division said it is “working closely with the Attorney General’s office to determine the validity of the legislation” passed by the Alabama House on March 3.
A spokesman for the attorney general’s office told ABC News the bill does not address whether it’s illegal for a website owner to post news, but does prohibit posting any content that is fake news.
“It is unlawful for a person to knowingly post any content, whether false, misleading, or otherwise, that falsely represents or is intended to mislead a person about the source of a news article,” the spokesman said.
“The Attorney General has the authority to enforce criminal defamation laws to protect Alabama’s people and the public from false and defamatory information.”
The Alabama House also approved legislation that would require a website operator to remove content that they believe violates the state’s defamation laws, and requires that the content be removed within seven days.
The measure passed the state Senate on March 12.
The Attorney Generals office said it was working closely with law enforcement to determine whether the law will be successful and to notify affected entities.
“While it is important to understand the laws in place in Alabama and how they apply to social media, we have a responsibility to ensure the accuracy and truth of news content and the accuracy of legal content,” the Alabama attorney general said.
The bill is a step in the right direction in Alabama, where the media industry has long struggled to regulate the online news market.
The Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee on March 13 approved a similar bill that would create a “Truth in Media” law that would force internet companies to remove fake news from their websites.
The Senate bill has yet to be brought to a vote in the House.
In the last two years, the United States has seen more fake news stories and stories that were false, deceptive or misleading posted online.
There have been at least 17 false or misleading articles published on the Facebook platform in 2017, according the Washington Post.
The false or deceptive articles posted on the social media platform have been picked up by news outlets across the country, including The Associated Press, the Washington Times, and the New York Times.
In a survey of news publishers in 2017 by the Pew Research Center, nearly a quarter of news outlets identified fake news as a top issue, citing fake news articles as the biggest issue facing the news media.