Trump is drafting an order to regulate Facebook and Twitter for bias

Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The White House has drafted an ambitious new proposal to regulate social media platforms, with the aim of combating perceived bias against conservatives, according to a new report from CNN. The proposal, some details of which were previously reported by Politico, would call on the FCC to develop new regulations concerning how social media platforms are allowed to moderate their users.

The FTC, which typically focuses on consumer protection issues, would also be required to maintain a public complaint docket for users who believe their rights have been infringed by online moderation. Those complaints could be used as grounds for an FTC lawsuit against a platform like Facebook, if the platform’s behavior was found to injure consumers.

The order is still in its early stages, and may not be introduced in its current form. Still, the details suggest President Trump is serious about initiating new regulations on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The president recently halted all Twitter spending by his campaign in retaliation for a moderation action that briefly suspended Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Twitter account.

As described by CNN, the proposal raises a number of legal issues. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act gives companies broad discretion for moderating speech. Even if that moderation is found to be undertaken in bad faith, platforms can only be held liable under very specific circumstances. Any attempt to expand that liability would likely face a significant judicial challenge.

Even if the protections of Section 230 were repealed by Congress, it’s not clear the FCC would be legally authorized to moderate social media companies. The commission, which typically regulates telecom companies, has historically seen edge providers like Facebook and YouTube as outside its purview.

Current FCC chairman Ajit Pai has been unusually critical of the lack of regulation facing internet giants. “The greatest threat to a free and open internet has been the unregulated Silicon Valley tech giants that do, in fact, today decide what you see and what you don’t,” Pai said in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing earlier this summer.

Facebook declined to comment on the order. Twitter and YouTube did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Shortly after the CNN report broke, President Trump told reporters he was very concerned with the censorship of conservatives on social media platforms. “We have a lot of these companies coming in a little while,” Trump said, referring to the upcoming meeting on online extremism. “We’re going to be very tough with them. They’re treating conservatives very unfairly.”

Comments

Out of curiosity, why does the article start off by saying the FTC would be policing companies but then later say there are questions on if the FCC would even have the authority to do so. These aren’t the same entity and they don’t have the same job.

FCC would regulate, FTC is where you would send your complaints to if you feel you’re being mistreated…if I’m reading the article correctly.

So government regulation of private companies is good as long as its proposed by Republicans? Why don’t they stick to their age old formula of free market.

This is needed because it is clearly not a level playing field for conservatives who choose to speak their minds on social media. There is a very clear agenda to silence conservative ideas and speech by the social media overlords.

Except they clearly aren’t being silenced since we keep hearing them all loud and clear. Just because people don’t want to listen to what you’re saying doesn’t mean you’re being silenced.

Banking regulation is needed, Gun regulation is needed, environment pollution regulation is needed and so on. But you always argue that free market will fix everything. So why is free market not good enough for conservatives now?

Gotcha. That makes sense. Thanks!

Nothing more than red meat for his base. If he does sign an order, it will be tied up in courts until he’s out of office.

I mean that’s pretty much what this entire presidency has been…

He’s not losing all his battles though. He’s like a volume shooter in basketball. He has no conscience and will continue jacking up shots even if he averages less than 15%.

He doesn’t think it matters and thinks he’ll maintain power by appealing to his base. You’d think that the 2018 midterms would flash some huge warning signs on that strategy, but I guess not.

Worse thing that could happen to Trump at this point is a recession, and given the yield curve inversion, Brexit, and how soft the European economy is now, he very well may get it sooner rather than later.

He doesn’t think it matters and thinks he’ll maintain power by appealing to his base.

It doesn’t and he most likely will. Incumbent advantage, a war chest of cash, 40% of the country that will vote for any breathing creature with an® next to their name, and the current state of the electoral college means he has a fantastic shot at re-election.

He’ll lose the popular vote even worse than he did in 2016, but that won’t matter to him as long as he’s re-elected.

I wouldn’t bet on reelection. The strong economy hurts him in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan, because there will be fewer ‘grudge’ voters. His approval is in the tank, and Democrats are extremely motivated to get him out of office. The trade war is also hurting him in places he has to win in order to be reelected.

The strong economy hurts him in places like Pennsylvania and Michigan, because there will be fewer ‘grudge’ voters.

Or they’ll say they’re better off due to his antics.

His approval is in the tank

It’s actually nearly flat and barely ticking up recently – https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/trump-approval-ratings/

Democrats are extremely motivated to get him out of office

And extremely divided. Their passion is great, but it’s also potentially going to doom them like 2016. There’s still "Never Bernie" or "Never anyone but my candidate" or "Biden too old/white" just like there was "Never Hillary" sentiment in 2016.

The trade war is also hurting him in places he has to win in order to be reelected.

Most of those farmers are being reimbursed by insurance and bailout bills provided by Congress, so financially they’re doing okay. Plenty see it as a long term fight worth fighting than a short term issue.

not just tied up. It probably would be found in violation of the communications decency act. The law gives them a lot of leeway. Mostly rightly so.

He’s getting another 4 years, so.

Doubtful.

Lol. Even if you don’t like him, there’s absolutely no doubt that this current crop of democratic contenders can’t beat Trump.

He’ll cruise to another victory.

Beijing Biden will take him down. /s

Him getting another 4 years would just further prove where the majority of voters align themselves, which should be shockingly shitty but at the same time, we already knew this about most of America.

Love seeing these big government R’s lose their minds over this shit.

As long as these are private companies that don’t licence something from the government to operate (like owning spectrum would entail), there is absolutely nothing the government can do to restrict free speech and what these companies can do. Section 230 legally protects these companies from comments made my people on the internet, but it in no way has any bearing on free speech.

You also can’t sue someone for being ‘biased’ against you, so opening up 230 to allow someone to take legal action against a company’s ‘bias’ would be pointless, as anyone suing for said ‘bias’ thrown out of court as a meritless case.

Exactly. SCOTUS has ruled multiple times that the first amendment grants freedom of association.

So unless we make Nazis a protected class or change first amendment then dead.

Please 2020 come faster so we can rid ours selves of Trump.

You’re assuming he wont make Nazis a protected class. (Only half joking.)

Government has a lot of ways of screwing up your business even if you technically aren’t doing anything illegal. Look at how Obama went after banks that provided service to legal but unpopular businesses like gun stores, payday lenders and strip clubs/strippers themselves. It was surprisingly effective.

View All Comments
Back to top ↑