Trump Signs Executive Order After Twitter Debacle

The move represents the latest attempt by Donald Trump to use the tools of the Presidency to force private companies to change policies that he believes are not favourable to him

President Donald Trump's executive order, meant to get the federal government more involved in regulating social media sites like Twitter, won't accomplish much and would be bad public policy, according to many experts on the law of the Internet. With Section 230 protection, those platforms can host that content without being held individually responsible for whether that content is legal under any other definition - i.e. if someone does something criminal on your platform, the person is responsible instead of the platform.

It states that by restricting certain content, the online services are "engaged in editorial conduct" and as a result should lose any protection from liability.

That law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is essential to large social platforms like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook, the kind of companies the president has long accused, without evidence, of engaging in anti-conservative censorship.

In a signing event, Trump said the action is designed "to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers" while adding that Twitter, Facebook, and Google have "unchecked power". Trump, who has over 80 million followers on Twitter, had claimed that "mail-in-ballots used during the presidential elections will be "fraudulent". The executive order may come as early as Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at a news briefing that the executive order could be released on Thursday.

No. Only Congress can change Section 230. The FCC primarily spends its time regulating the nation's broadband access and telecommunications infrastructure.

This week isn't the first time Zuckerberg and Dorsey have been at odds about how to handle political speech on their respective platforms. Our top priority should be connecting all Americans to high-quality, affordable broadband.

Zuckerberg Accuses Twitter Of Abusing Power, Trump Talks Regulation 05/29/2020
It attacks online platforms for damaging free expression by being able to "hand-pick the speech that Americans may access". That could open the door for users to sue social media platforms if they feel their posts were restricted inappropriately.

Some call it the foundation of the open internet and online free speech. We must keep our focus on that essential work.

A Google spokeswoman told Newsweek the company relies on "clear content policies and we enforce them without regard to political viewpoint". But there's a high likelihood that any action taken against companies by either group would hit a strong legal rebuttal.

Twitter, which is repeatedly named in the draft of the executive order, declined to comment. "And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make", he tweeted. "It stands to undermine a variety of government efforts to protect public safety and spread critical information online through social media and threatens the vibrancy of a core segment of our economy". And that can both score him some political points with his supporters, while potentially creating a chilling effect with companies that want to avoid the process of getting into a legal battle over Section 230. Facebook was accused of bias against conservatives based on the words of an anonymous former contractor who said the company downplayed conservative issues in that feature and promoted liberal causes. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

Federal spending on online advertising will also be reviewed by U.S. government agencies to ensure there are no speech restrictions by the relevant platform.

The protections were put in place in 1996 to allow the internet to grow without fears of lawsuits over what is posted online.

"I think, in general, private companies, especially these platform companies, shouldn't be in the position of doing that".

In response, Trump baselessly claimed Wednesday that social media platforms "totally silence conservatives' voices" and threatened to "strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen".

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