President Donald Trump has had it with the social media behemoths abusing the law by picking sides in the political, social, and cultural issues of our time – usually the side he’s not on.
And he’s particularly keen that the social media platforms wield great power to influence the masses ahead of the November election, so he’s preparing some executive actions to curb their ‘election meddling’ because Democrats in Congress won’t (since their party is benefitted by the censorship of conservatives).
Slated to appear before the House Judiciary Committee regarding potential antitrust violations: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
During an interview with the Daily Caller in June, the president expressed his frustration with the repeated examples of Left-wing social media platform censorship of right-leaning opinion.
“It’s really unfair what’s going on with the conservative voice. You’d solve the entire problem of the various, you know, monopolists, if you ever voided Section 230.”
Trump is referring to a section of the Communications Decency Act which says, “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
The section gives platforms immunity for content posted, but over time the same platforms have begun censoring content — like a publisher.
So what are they? Platforms or publishers?
In response, Trump issued an executive order Monday aimed at making the distinction that, if they are upheld, will prohibit the kind of censorship taking place.
The Office of the Press Secretary issued this statement:
On Monday, the Department of Commerce, as directed by President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, filed a petition to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act. The petition requests that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarify that Section 230 does not permit social media companies that alter or editorialize users’ speech to escape civil liability. The petition also requests that the FCC clarify when an online platform curates content in “good faith,” and requests transparency requirements on their moderation practices, similar to requirements imposed on broadband service providers under Title I of the Communications Act. President Trump will continue to fight back against unfair, un-American, and politically biased censorship of Americans online.
“When it comes to issues of public safety, the government is the one who must act on behalf of society at large. Law enforcement cannot delegate our obligations to protect the safety of the American people purely to the judgment of profit-seeking private firms. We must shape the incentives for companies to create a safer environment, which is what Section 230 was originally intended to do,” Attorney General William Barr said last month when the Justice Department issued its recommendations for the president.
“Taken together, these reforms will ensure that Section 230 immunity incentivizes online platforms to be responsible actors. These reforms are targeted at platforms to make certain they are appropriately addressing illegal and exploitive content while continuing to preserve a vibrant, open, and competitive internet,” he added.
“These twin objectives of giving online platforms the freedom to grow and innovate while encouraging them to moderate content responsibly were the core objectives of Section 230 at the outset.”
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