‘Deep Fake’ Ban

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

AB 730 would ban the distribution of doctored video, audio or photos of a candidate for office within 60 days of an election unless it is clearly labeled as a fake. This includes high-tech “deep fake” videos, in which the face of one person is digitally grafted onto the face of someone else — but also old-fashioned forgeries. It would also put a blanket prohibition on political campaigns putting out that kind of misleading media in ads and mail. An exemption exists fror satire and parody.

WHO SUPPORTS IT?

Silicon Valley Community Foundation is one of two official supporters. The other is UC Berkeley Law School dean Erwin Chemerinsky, a valuable ally for the bill whose endorsement has helped blunt the critique that the measure violates the First Amendment.

WHO’S OPPOSED?

The American Civil Liberties Union and trade groups for the state’s newspapers and TV stations.

WHY IT MATTERS

Technological developments make it increasingly difficult to sort fake from real news, which presents a particular concern related to elections. Still, it’s unclear how much policymakers can do to limit fake speech without infringing on core constitutional rights.

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Whether the bill is constitutional is an entirely unsettled question, but Newsom signed it on Oct. 3, 2019.