(WRBL) – The Attorneys General of Alabama and Louisiana are launching an initiative to address what they believe to be social media censorship.
Both states are now providing a social media complaint form for the public to report alleged abuses by social media platforms.
“We look forward to compiling this information to see, in fact, what’s going on through social media and whether or not there are specific instances or circumstances in which we believe there may be violations of the law,” says AG Steve Marshal of Alabama.
Marshall went on to speak of specific instances of what he believes to be social media abuse, “We’ve seen twitter be able to remove information from one of the nation’s oldest newspapers. We’ve seen others be removed from social media platforms because big tech has decided that they don’t believe that they are worthy of being able to share information in that role. We believe that citizens ought to be able to make that choice, and so what we’re trying to do is to find examples of where censorship has taken place.”
In another example, a 2019 study done by The University of Washington and Carnegie Mellon, found that “African American English tweets and tweets by self-identified African Americans are up to two times more likely to be labelled as offensive compared to others.”
The study showed that the algorithms used to identify offensive content inadvertently further marginalized the populations it was intended to protect.
Speaking on the study Marshall said, “I think that’s a great example this is not a conservative or liberal issue. This, in fact is simply one where we believe that there may be individuals’ groups or causes that are being targeted. And, so, for us it’s a matter of being able to dive into specific complaints.”
The Attorney General continued to say, “We want to make sure that we’re dealing with facts not rumor or inuendo and be able to move forward in ways that may be violating the constitution, or for us even the Alabama Deceptive Trade Practices Act. To see whether there’s opportunities for indemnity.”
Marshall also spoke of possible getting the legislature involved in the findings from the initiative. “The other thing is that we can share the nature for our findings to share with our legislature to see weather not they want to weigh in. To be able to make changes to Alabama law. To be able to ensure situations like you described and others that we may see simply don’t happen or that we have an opportunities for citizens to have a remedy that right now doesn’t exist individually.”