United States Policies Affecting Disinformation

From ADTAC Disinformation Inventory


In the U.S., the Communications Decency Act of 1996, Section 230, states: "no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."[1]This sentence has widely been regarded as pivotal in the creation of the modern internet because it allows platforms to avoid being responsible for content hosted on their platforms.[2][3] The law has generated controversy and there are advocates for changing it.[4]

In 2017, the Honest Ads Act was designed to increase transparency and accountability for online political advertisements by requiring those who purchase and publish these ads to publicly disclose information about the advertisements. However, this bill died in Congress, both in 2017 and two years later in 2019 when it was reintroduced.[5]

The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act, introduced in 2015, was later incorporated into the National Defense Authorization Act. The Act established an interagency center housed at the U.S. State Department to coordinate and synchronize U.S. Government counter-propaganda efforts. The bill also contained a grant program for NGOs, think tanks, and civil society organizations engaged in counter-propaganda related work.[6]

In 2018, California passed a law which boosts media literacy in schools.[7] In 2019, Governor Jerry Brown in California vetoed a bill that would have created an advisory group that would monitor the spread of misinformation on social media and developed solutions.[8][9]

Actions and Initiatives

The department of Homeland Security has advised for a "whole of society" response to disinformation.[10]

In 2019, the state of New York prosecuted a company for illegal deception and illegal impersonation after they gained millions of dollars in revenue through fake posts and comments.[11]

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National Policies Affecting Disinformation