Updated: Oct 9
Trump passed an executive order that will limit social media platforms' use of the online decency act section 230c if they censor their users. Also, federal legislation is being developed to further reinforce the actions of this executive order.
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On May 28th, 2020, Donald Trump signed an executive order on preventing online censorship.
All the information in this episode is coming directly from whitehouse.gov.
For purposes of this order, the term “online platform” means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking or any general search engine.
This executive order is targeting the “immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act”
The Communications Decency Act gives social media platforms, like Twitter or Facebook, the legal immunity from what their users post on their forum. What this executive order is saying is that, if you are infringing on people’s first amendment rights, then you shouldn’t have this immunity because the platform is no longer a free and open debate.
As stated in section 1 the main reason for this executive order is that quote “we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to handpick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet” because these platforms are quote “ceasing their function of a passive bulletin board”
In section 4, the executive order states, “the Packingham v. North Carolina, (2017) Supreme Court note saying “that social media sites, as the modern public square, can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.”
In section 4b, the order talks about how in May 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report online incidents of censorship. In just weeks, they received over 16,000 complaints. Unfortunately, we can’t find the to-date number due to the form no longer accepting responses.
The executive order also asks for the Attorney General to ensure that there are no state statutes that allow online platforms to “engage in unfair or deceptive acts or practices”. It also asks the Attorney General to develop federal legislation that protects users online.
Thanks for coming along on our journey! Till next time!