FCC will move to set rules clarifying key social media protection: chair

Yolanda Curtis
October 18, 2020

Section 230 is a part of the U.S. Communications Decency Act of 1996 that provides immunity for website publishers from third-party content.

Pai's comments sparked controversy among the senior FCC members. "Section 230 is vital to defending free speech on-line and the FCC has no authority to change it, particularly not in methods that may undermine free expression. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning", he added. In a tweet, the president fired some arrows at the two companies and ended by saying, "REPEAL SECTION 230!" Those tweets made false claims about mail-in voting, which is how the United States elections will be carried out in November.

On Twitter, Trump complained about Fb and Twitter limiting the Publish piece. The President, as well as other Republicans, believe that the platforms' repression of the said article was another case of bias against conservatives. "We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen".

Zeroing in on a provision of USA communications legislation that Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to as to be nixed, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on Thursday mentioned he believes the telecom company has the authorized authority to regulate social-media firms.

Section 230 of the Communications Act of the United States constitution provides social media companies with broad immunity against the content posted on their platforms. But Pai is indicating he doesn't agree with how the law is being interpreted.

In his statement, Pai said that "Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters". But not everyone agrees with Pai's thinking. "The president's executive order on Section 230 was politically motivated and legally unsound".

Tech Freedom said: "When a Democratic FCC Chairman pushed neutrality regulations at the behest of President Obama, Ajit Pai said: "We shouldn't be a rubber stamp for political decisions made by the White House.' Now Pai's doing essentially what he lambasted Tom Wheeler for: proposing sweeping 'neutrality" rules at a President's behest based on unprecedented claims of legal authority to regulate Internet services".

US Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), one of the co-authors behind Section 230, also objected.

Although legislators on both sides of the aisle have shown deep concern about how social media platforms conduct themselves, as well as particular interest in Section 230, Pai's response prompted swift reactions from Democratic lawmakers. However, social media companies say removing the law would only hurt the internet ecosystem for all.

The ACLU additionally slammed Pai's transfer to regulate social media firms below Section 230. "It will restrict more speech online, not less", Facebook told PCMag back in May.

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