New Trump Social Media Executive Order Could Cripple Section 230

CYBERSPACE—After the social media platform Twitter posted a “fact check” link on one of his tweets earlier this week, Donald Trump on Thursday was expected to sign a new executive order that would blow a new hole in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act—the law that is generally considered the foundation of free speech online.  Trump has long accused social media platforms of political bias, and in a tweet on Tuesday accused Twitter of “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election” after the site posted the fact-checking link on a Trump tweet about mail-in voting.. In 2018, both the House and Senate passed—and Trump signed—the FOSTA/SESTA law supposedly aimed at curbing online “sex trafficking,” but which primarily weakened Section 230 by making online platforms legally liable for anything on their sites posted by third parties that could be interpreted as promoting trafficking. Under Section 230, platforms and internet service providers are shielded from legal liability for third-party posts. In other words, a social media company such as Twitter is not legally responsible for offending posts made by users—such as sexually explicit content, for example. But the new executive order could lay waste to the long-standing law. “Trump’s order essentially would pave the way for U.S. agencies to revisit and potentially undo long-standing legal protections known as Section 230,” The Washington Post reported on Thursday. “A change could have dramatic free-speech implications and wide-ranging consequences for a broad swath of companies reliant on doing business on the Internet.” The executive order would also create a wide-ranging program to “monitor” social media users based on “their interactions with content or users” such as “likes” and “follows,” and would create a “watch list” of users, according to a CNBC report.  One Democratic commissioner on the five-member Federal Communications Commission said that Trump’s order “does not work.” “Social media can be frustrating. But an Executive Order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the President’s speech police is not the answer,” said Jessica Rosenworcel, in a statement quoted by the tech news site The Verge.  But Republican FCC member Brendan Carr, who was appointed to the FCC by Trump, said that the executive order “makes sense.” “[Section 230] has always said that if you engage in bad faith takedowns, you don’t get those bonus protections,” Carr said in his own Thursday statement.  FCC Chair Ajit Pai had yet to comment on the new executive order by Thursday afternoon. Photo By Geralt / Pixabay 

written by: Michael French

source: New Trump Social Media Executive Order Could Cripple Section 230 | AVN

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