Several days ago, the Trump administration issued an executive order calling on social media platforms such as Twitter to take responsibility for posts on its sites,media reported. The executive order gives federal regulators more power to argue that social media companies violate the right to free speech when censoring posts or restricting user privileges.
Earlier, Twitter tagged two of President Trump’s tweets as needy to be verified, as well as a warning about a Minnesota protest tweet that it violated the site’s rules.
It is understood that Mr. Trump’s target is Section 230 of the Communications Code Act. It is reported that the Act was enacted in 1996 and laid the foundation for the modern digital age. It gives social media companies almost all the power to censor content on their platforms with impunity.
To a large extent, Section 230 is the reason users can post freely on the Internet, as technology companies are not responsible for posts they post on their websites. As the White House says, they’re like electronic bulletin boards, they’re the spreaders, not the publishers. Most technology companies only intervene to regulate extremist content, such as violent or nude content.
If the order is passed, Facebook, Twitter and other companies could lose protection from Section 230 if they restrict users’ freedom of speech or deviate from the terms of service without a fair hearing. The White House points out that these companies have unprecedented power to shape public interpretation of public events, control what people see and see, and selective censorship undermines national discourse and creates political bias.
Section 230 content states: “The provider or user of interactive computer services shall not be considered the publisher or publisher of any information provided by other providers of information content.” “
But for years, social media companies have moved away from just public bulletin boards, but have taken action to curb disinformation. The election and the new corona virus pandemic have increased the dilemma between freedom of speech and responsible content distribution. False information can spread rapidly, causing terrible economic impact and even loss of life, and the speech of the right holder has news value, should be analyzed by the public. This is a tricky balance for the company.
In most cases, if there is a problem with the content creator’s post, it makes sense for them to take responsibility for it. Social media companies, on the other hand, receive advertising revenue from viral posts, suggesting they hold a stake in published content. Mr. Trump’s war on social media also shows that while many companies consider themselves neutral, sometimes they can be deceptive, and they want to hold them accountable.
If the Trump administration continues to do the same, the future of social media could be more limited because companies may be held accountable for unprocessed fake or defamatory posts. Without the protection of Section 230, they might have to be more active in regulating content on the site.
But the prospect is almost certain to be strongly resisted in court. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said the order would turn the FCC into the president’s voice police, but that was not the answer. Legal experts expect the move to be challenged and likely to be rejected by the courts, the New York Times reported. Commissioner Brendan Carr, however, disagreed.