President Trump has signed an executive order that would strip the Section 230 liability protections of any Big Tech company that censors content.
In a press conference on Thursday, President Trump announced that he would be stripping the “liability shield” that Big Tech companies have under Section 230 of the Communications and Decency Act if they engage in “censoring or any political conduct.”
Currently, Big Tech companies claim they act as a neutral platform, meaning that they receive certain protections from what people post on their site. However, given that they have engaged in the censorship of conservatives, they act more like a publisher, who is more liable for what is on their site.
The executive order also instructs Attorney General William Barr to work with the states to develop their own legislation regarding censorship online, and also instructs his adminstration to start developing policies to “ensure taxpayer dollars are not going to any social media that suppresses free speech.
Many America First conservatives have been calling for these regulations for a while, as conservatives, including the President, have been targeted by the social media giants for simply expressing points of view that contradict the mainstream left-wing narrative.
The President noted that Big Tech companies have had “unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any commuication between private citizens and large public audiences”:
There has been no precedent in American history for so small a number of corporations to control so large a sphere of human interaction, and that includes individual people controlling vast amounts of territory and we can’t allow that to happen. Especially when they go about doing what they’re doing, because they’re doing things very incorrectly. They have points of view and if we go by that, it’s actually amazing that there was a success in 2016, but we can’t let this continue to happen. It’s very very unfair, and you look at the statistics and you look at what’s going, and I think everyone would very much agree with that, including Democrats by the way. I saw quite a few Democrats saying it’s about time something is done, so let’s see if they keep that decision when they hear that we agree with them.
President Trump argued that when Big Tech companies make decisions to “suppress, blacklist, [or] shadowban” people on their platforms, they are editorial decisions:
In those moments, Twitter ceases to be a neutral, public platform, and they become an editor with a view point, and I think we can say that about others also. Whether you’re looking at Google or Facebook, and perhaps others. One egregious example is when they tried to silence views that they disagree with is when they selectively apply a fact check… What they choose to fact check and what they choose to ignore or promote is nothing more than political activism, and it’s inappropriate… Censorship and bias is a threat to freedom itself.
The President concluded that he would “not allow the American people to be bullied these giant corporations.”
#BREAKING: President Trump signs executive order strip liability protection from companies that censure content: "Companies that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield." https://t.co/D5ooUw1fNz pic.twitter.com/FHs7kUvJH1
— The Hill (@thehill) May 28, 2020
When asked by a reporter whether this meant the President would delete his Twitter account, the President replied that if they “weren’t fake,” he’d delete it “in a heartbeat.”