Trump's 'Protecting Americans from Online Censorship' order would end social platform protections in CDA Section 230

Banning Nazis from Twitter should be against the law: Trump, basically.

Only an administration as venal as Trump's would call it 'Protecting Americans from Online Censorship.'

But there it is. The draft executive order by illegitimate, popular-vote-losing United States president Donald Trump would force the FCC to cut back on CDA Section 230 protections for internet platforms, so they can be held liable by the government when they remove, say, Nazi tweets.

Trump's hate cult runs on social media used as a hate vector. It's in his administration's interest to do this. This is part of how they plan to retain and increase power.

CNN's Brian Fung broke the story on Friday evening, with details on the long-rumored social media executive order the Trump administration is said to have now written.

The draft is, yes, really, titled "Protecting Americans From Online Censorship," and would to narrow protections given to social media platforms and all other online publishers including this very website under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.


It claims that the White House has received more than 15,000 anecdotal complaints of social media platforms censoring American political discourse, the summary indicates. The Trump administration, in the draft order, will offer to share the complaints it's received with the FTC.

The FTC will also be asked to open a public complaint docket, according to the summary, and to work with the FCC to develop a report investigating how tech companies curate their platforms and whether they do so in neutral ways. Companies whose monthly user base accounts for one-eighth of the U.S. population or more could find themselves facing scrutiny, the summary said, including but not limited to Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.

What is 47 U.S.C. § 230, a Provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996?

Section 230, the one Trump's administration is now seeking to effectively crush, "is one of the most valuable tools for protecting freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet," EFF explains:

The Internet community as a whole objected strongly to the Communications Decency Act, and with EFF's help, the anti-free speech provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court. But thankfully, CDA 230 remains and in the years since has far outshone the rest of the law. Section 230 says that "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider" (47 U.S.C. § 230). In other words, online intermediaries that host or republish speech are protected against a range of laws that might otherwise be used to hold them legally responsible for what others say and do. The protected intermediaries include not only regular Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but also a range of "interactive computer service providers," including basically any online service that publishes third-party content. Though there are important exceptions for certain criminal and intellectual property-based claims, CDA 230 creates a broad protection that has allowed innovation and free speech online to flourish.

"Ironically, for all Republicans' complaints about 'censorship,' this order would ACTUALLY create an Internet speech police at the FCC & FTC," tweeted @TechFreedom.

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[via Techmeme]