This week, U.S. senator and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Dianne Feinstein introduced a bill called the “Requiring Reporting of Online Terrorist Activity Act” that would require sites like Facebook and Twitter to report terrorist chatter to the government.
The lawmakers behind the bill were quick to point out that it wouldn’t require the sites to snoop on users, but would instead only compel them to report terrorist content “when they come across it.” Feinstein also took to Twitter to state that the bill would not “criminalize free speech.” However, critics are still leery of the bill, noting that Facebook may not be the best candidate to determine what deserves reporting.
“Social media companies aren’t qualified to judge which posts amount to ‘terrorist activity,’ and they shouldn’t be forced against their will to create a Facebook Bureau of Investigations to police their users’ speech,” said Senator Ron Wyden, who put a procedural hold on an earlier bill with the same goal.
The bill’s proposal comes in the wake of the San Bernardino terrorist attacks, during which one of the shooters allegedly pledged allegiance to ISIS on Facebook. What’s more, several notable presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have proposed stronger actions to police terrorists online. Even if this current bill gets shot down, there’s a good chance that one like it will be passed sooner rather than later.