Calls for Social Media Moderation, Democrats Urge Biden AI Policy, Tackling Junk Fees

Congressman urges social media giants to moderate misinformation in the wake of Hamas attacks in Israel.

Calls for Social Media Moderation, Democrats Urge Biden AI Policy, Tackling Junk Fees
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October 12, 2023 – Congressman Frank Pallone, D-N.J., issued a statement Thursday calling for more proactive moderation of content on social media platforms X, YouTube and Facebook to take down reported disinformation and violence occurring between Hamas and Israel.

The misinformation about the violence has flooded the social media platforms, which has been reported by the Associated Press. There have been false claims of kidnappings, aid being sent to Israel from President Joe Biden, and videos of world leaders like Russian President Vladimir Putin with inaccurate captions, AP reported.

“Right now disturbing content and deliberate misinformation are spreading across social media like wildfire…Social media companies must not allow their platforms to become agents of terrorist propaganda and violence,” Pallone said.

Pallone urged the social media sites to be more reactive in enforcing content moderation, and to remove dangerous content while banning any accounts that “spread or broadcast acts of terror, violence or extremism.”

Group of democrats urge Biden to set A.I. policy

A coalition of Democrats led by Sen. Ed Markey D-Mass, and Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., have urged in a letter to the Biden administration to the use their AI Bill of Rights legislation to inform regulatory policy in an upcoming executive order.

In a meeting on September 27, President Biden announced that prior to the end of the year, he would be taking executive action to work on bipartisan legislation regulating artificial intelligence.

The letter identifies five principles to focus on when regulating AI, which include “safe and effective systems, algorithmic discrimination protections, data privacy, notice and explanation, and consideration of human alternatives.”

The group of Democrats said that their AI Bill of Rights indicates the need to develop AI regulations with important safeguards in place, a message they hope to get across to both private and government regulators.

The need to develop AI legislation is at the forefront of the Senate’s mind, with an emphasis on promoting innovation, while making sure the technology does not harm individuals or sectors of the workforce.

Biden pledges to take action against ‘junk fees’

President Joe Biden gave remarks Tuesday addressing the need to protect consumers from “junk fees,” and announced efforts to ban those fees and require companies to be more transparent with consumers about what they are actually paying for.

According to the White House, junk fees are hidden fees added onto bills, normally without the consumer knowing, which often increases the original cost of things – including internet service.

Biden announced efforts going forward to work with the Federal Trade Commission to enforce mandatory rules on how a company breaks down different costs and communicates that to consumers.

Biden’s proposed rules would require companies to identify what each fee is for, how much they add up to in full and whether or not they are refundable. It would also allow the FTC to impose fines on companies who do not comply with those standards.

For the broadband industry, The Federal Communications Commission finalized a rule which will take effect between April – October 2024, requiring service providers to “display at the point of sale clear, easy-to-understand, and accurate information about the cost and performance of broadband services.”

Biden gave his address alongside Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan and Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Rohit Chopra, who both are members of Biden’s appointed Competition Council, aimed at reducing hidden costs for consumers. The FTC and CFPB are independent agencies hence are not part of the Executive Branch.