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ACP Lapse 'Pound Foolish'

Gomez Concerned About Media Literacy, Doesn't Want FCC in Newsrooms

Media misinformation and disinformation are major concerns, but the FCC shouldn't regulate newsrooms, Commissioner Anna Gomez Tuesday told a Media Institute luncheon. “Our democracy needs a press free from interference from regulators like myself,” said Gomez.

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Gomez said she will use her platform to promote media literacy education, stopping short of saying the FCC should take similar steps. “I think all of us can help with this effort, but other than that I’m not sure,” she said in response to a question about the agency’s role in encouraging media literacy. “I have zero interest in regulating what happens in newsrooms,” Gomez said. Her office declined comment on the opposition to a Fox-owned TV station's license over misinformation allegations (see 2401310059).

She praised Telemundo and Adobe for their media literacy education efforts and the Content Authenticity Initiative that identifies tampered digital content. Gomez in December listed combating media disinformation among her priorities during an early speech as a commissioner (see 2312120079. “I see my role at this time as focusing on consumer education,” Gomez said Tuesday. “What that means is using my platform as an FCC commissioner to amplify the many and varied efforts of others.”

Please join me in spreading the word about these technologies and education efforts and reach out to my office if you have other ideas for how we can help educate and empower consumers,” she said.

The commissioner noted recent developments in AI highlight the need for disinformation vigilance. “It feels like technology is in hyperdrive right now.” Gomez said she doesn’t believe the agency has a role in regulating AI video but said she needed to confirm that. The FCC examined the use of AI in combating robocalls (see 2312200039) and recently clamped down on using voice-cloning technology in them (see 2402080052) but isn’t looking at regulation of AI as a technology.

In addition, she urged renewal of the affordable connectivity program, as she has done often recently (see 2402070071). Gomez called the ACP's impending lapse “to my mind, the most important thing happening today.” Asked about concerns that many households taking advantage of the ACP already are connected to broadband, Gomez said Congress could address that by altering the eligibility criteria rather than letting the whole program die. “Let’s not be pennywise and pound foolish; let’s keep the ACP.”