Google has recently expressed its concerns over Bill 2630/2020, also known as the Fake News Bill, stating that it could negatively affect innovation, impact on freedom of expression, and economic opportunities. In an official blog post, Marcelo Lacerda, Director of Government Relations and Public Policies at Google Brasil, outlines the company’s stance on the matter.
Six Concerns with the Fake News Bill
Lacerda lists six key issues that Google believes are problematic with the current format of the Fake News Bill:
- Protects misinformation producers.
- Threatens access and free distribution of content online.
- Grants excessive authority to a government body to control internet content.
- Poses significant risks to freedom of expression as well as damages Brazilian businesses and advertisers.
- Hinders access Google Search by equating search engines with social networks.
Impact on Freedom of Expression and Journalistic Content
Lacerda highlights that the bill includes rules that protect content produced by companies for journalistic purposes. It could force social networks and communication companies to maintain false news produced by biased sources. Furthermore, he also criticizes the creation of an “autonomous regulatory entity” that would monitor social networks, arguing that it would have extensive powers to limit the content available to Brazilians with minimal supervision.
Google’s Stance on the Bill’s Development and Impact on Freedom of Expression
Google disapproves of the bill’s rushed development and lack of public debate. Lacerda emphasizes that the company remains committed to contributing to the public debate and the creation of new laws but believes the current text has strayed from its original objective of combating disinformation.
The Real Purpose of the Fake News Bill
Although the bill is commonly referred to as the Fake News Bill, its primary objective is to regulate social networks. Moreover, curbing fake news is a secondary goal. Authored by Senator Alessandro Vieira, the bill intends to hold social networks responsible for content published on their platforms.
Implications of the Bill
If passed, the Fake News Bill would implement various measures, including establishing an oversight body for social networks, enforcing penalties for big tech companies in cases involving hateful content, requiring payment for journalistic vehicles, and offering benefits for politicians’ accounts.
As the debate over the Fake News Bill continues, it is essential to consider its potential impact on freedom of expression, innovation, and economic opportunities. By engaging in a more comprehensive discussion, stakeholders can work together to create legislation that effectively addresses disinformation without compromising fundamental rights and values.