🚨 Official Poll: Should Trump sign executive order against social media bias?
Trump is preparing to push an executive order intended to curtail the legal protection that shields social media platforms from liability for what gets posted, according to the New York Times.
According to the New York Times, two senior administration officials confirmed that the executive order is still being drafted and is subject to change.
The order would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that companies like Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter are suppressing free speech.
For example, some users often find their posts deleted, accounts suspended, among other examples.
This week, Twitter flagged two posts from President Trump as false news.
As a result, President Trump plans to sign the order on May 28.
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The move is almost certain to face challenges in court, but in the meantime, Trump and his supporters have long accused social media companies of suppressing or silencing conservative voices.
White House officials have declined to comment on the exact content of the new order.
A spokesman for Twitter also declined to comment.
The draft of the executive order which refers to what it calls “selective censoring,” would allow the Commerce Department to try to focalize the use of Section 230.
It would also allow the Federal Trade Commission bulk up a tool for reporting online bias.
The order would also provide limitations on how federal dollars can be spent on social media advertisements.
A draft of the order also allegedly includes a directive for the White House Office of Digital Strategy to create a tool that gives Americans the opportunity to report instances of censorship online.
The White House Tech Bias tool would receive the complaints, and submit them to the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Along with the First Amendment, Section 230 helped social media thrive. Social media platforms can set their own rules in terms of how lackadaisical or strict they want their ‘guidelines’ to be. Technology companies have argued that any move to repeal or alter it would cripple online discussion.
They can also moderate content as they see fit.
The law will not provide blanket protection to social media platforms.
The companies are still required to comply with copyright law and remove pirated materials posted by users.
A spokesperson for Youtube also declined to comment on the matter.
“We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,” President Trump tweeted.
Mark Zuckerberg broke silence on the topic, saying, “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” Mr. Zuckerberg said. “Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
“It’s unclear what to make of this because to a certain extent, you can’t just issue an executive order and overturn on a whim 25 years of judicial precedent about how a law is interpreted,” said Kate Klonick, an assistant law professor at St. John’s University who studies online speech and content moderation.
Ms. Klonick, who said she had seen a draft version of the order, said that it was “likely not going to be upheld by a court.”
More from The New York Times:
Some of the ideas in the executive order date to a “social media summit” held last July at the White House, officials said.
But as conservatives have claimed that social media companies are biased against them and overmoderate their political views, Republican lawmakers have increasingly pushed to modify the statute.
Senators Marco Rubio of Florida and Josh Hawley of Missouri also chimed in this week after Twitter applied its new fact-checking standard to the president. Both lawmakers have been critics of the protections that technology companies enjoy under Section 230, and they renewed their calls to alter it.
According to CNN
The draft order, which was reviewed by CNN, targets a law known as the Communications Decency Act. Section 230 of the legislation provides broad immunity to websites that curate and moderate their own platforms, and has been described by legal experts as “the 26 words that created the internet.”
It argues that the protections hinge mainly on tech platforms operating in “good faith,” and that social media companies have not.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online,” the draft order says. “This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”
The Hill reported that an alteration to Section 230 could have a large impact on how websites moderate comments and other posts shared on their platforms.
The order reportedly requests that the FCC evaluate whether social media companies should lose the Section 230 protections they enjoy if they take actions related to editing content. It also would direct the FCC to review whether any social media company uses deceptive content moderation polices and if they violate their own terms of service.