Today President Trump signed and executive order on social media. Watch below:
According to reports about the executive order, Trump will ask the FCC to clarify Section 230:
The order would direct an agency within the Commerce Department to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that is considered foundational to the internet’s expansion. The statute provides platforms legal immunity for content posted by third-party users while also giving them legal cover to make good-faith efforts to moderate their platforms.
The draft order suggests that platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube could be considered publishers in some cases, making them liable for content posted on their sites.
The Hill also notes it “orders a review” of the law, which one Republican FCC Chairman said makes sense:
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr (R) said in a Yahoo Finance interview Thursday morning that the proposal “makes sense.”
“[Section 230] has always said that if you engage in bad-faith takedowns, you don’t get those bonus protections,” he said. “I think given what we’ve seen over the last few weeks, it makes sense to let the public weigh in and say, ‘Is that really what Congress meant when they passed and provided those special protections?’”
National Review’s David Harsanyi has an interesting article on this, calling this executive order an Obama-style executive abuse and explaining what the law actually did:
No one should be fooled. This would be an Obama-style executive abuse, meant not to “clarify” but to circumvent the will and intent of the legislative branch for partisan reasons. Section 230 wasn’t passed to regulate fairness or neutrality of political speech on platforms — a nebulous and unenforceable demand, even if it had been — but to allow websites to deal with online indecency.
In effect, Section 230 has restrained the kind of litigiousness that creates risk aversion and makes things like a free and open Internet impossible. Minimal regulatory oversight of the Internet has fostered robust discourse, the kind that would have been unimaginable to someone passing an Internet bill back in 1996. Yet, conservatives, constantly — and rightly — grousing about government overreach want to hand more regulatory power to the state.
Clearly he’s against more government intervention and makes a few good points along the way. But he also realizes that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is bringing this on himself by abandoning neutrality. He goes on more at length if you want to read it.
I post this not to oppose the president, just fyi, but to provide a different perspective on today’s order since we’re treading in somewhat uncharted waters.