- The White House wants the FTC and FCC to look at unproven allegations of anti-conservative censorship by tech companies.
- According to CNN, Trump is planning an executive order that could have significant implications for how internet companies moderate content.
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President Donald Trump is planning an executive order that could have huge ramifications for how tech companies moderate online content.
According to a report from CNN on Friday, the White House is drafting an order that would give the Federal Communications Commission responsibility for overseeing how tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest keep their services clear of unwanted content.
It comes amid the American right-wing backlash against big tech, which has repeatedly been accused – without proof – of censoring conservative voices and being politically biased.
At the heart of the issue is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. In short, this law means tech companies can’t be blamed for content users post on their platforms. According to CNN, the White House is planning to narrow the immunity tech companies get “if they remove or suppress content without notifying the user who posted the material, or if the decision is proven to be evidence of anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive practices.”
Meanwhile, if the executive order ultimately goes ahead, the Federal Trade Commission will be tasked with opening a “public complaint docket” to receive allegations of anti-conservative bias from the public, and will “work with the FCC to develop a report investigating how tech companies curate their platforms and whether they do so in neutral ways,” CNN reported.
The full text of the draft executive order has not yet been made public and could be changed before being formally introduced – or not introduced at all.
But it highlights how Section 230 is becoming an increasingly hot-button issue politically, with potentially huge ramifications for how tech companies moderate themselves.Republican Sen. Josh Hawley, a frequent tech critic, has introduced a bill that would end Section 230 protections for a company if its conduct wasn’t considered “neutral” politically – despite the fact that the original regulation was never intended as a way to ensure political neutrality.
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