Considering how much flak Donald Trump receives, it is not hard to see why the President of the U.S. continues to complain about social media. According to Trump, social media companies have a “political bias” against conservatives. Chances are, these social media companies could face regulatory action.
There has been a draft executive order in circulation by the White House, as reported by CNN, referred to as “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship”, which revolves around forcing social media companies to operate without bias when curating user-generated content.
If this executive order comes into effect, social media companies will have to deal with lawsuits for deleting and suppressing content without notifying users, especially if it was done in a deceptive or anti-competitive way. The proposal makes this possible by limiting legal protections internet companies enjoy due to the Communications Decency Act under Section 230, shielding them from liabilities concerning any and all objectionable content they host.
How the proposal would work is that the FCC would be made responsible for developing the necessary regulations for social media companies to moderate their content. Conservatives have often criticized how social media companies like YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook have practiced censorship. Meanwhile, left-leaning critics state that the companies are doing very little to combat content like conspiracy theories and hate speech from radicalized users.
It is worth noting though that the biggest tech companies have gone on record to state that they have no political bias whatsoever. Additionally, they claim that users are informed as soon as their account or content is removed.
What is alarming is that the Trump administration launched a website dedicated to gathering evidence against social media companies that practice political censorship. Said website accepts evidence from just about anyone and has accumulated 15,000 complaints so far.
In practice, this proposal could be the death of internet freedom, this is because whichever political party will be in power will dictate what is allowed on the internet. What this means is that if the government does not like how a private company is moderating its content, then the government will have the authority to have it shut down, for good even!
Even though the Trump administration claims it wants to ensure free speech, this plan would do the complete opposite. This proposal will create new censorship powers for the government unlike anything seen before.
Fortunately, the draft order has been thoroughly condemned by free speech and First Amendment experts. No matter your political affiliation, the fact cannot be denied that Trump could quite possibly lead the internet towards censorship.
If this accurately reflects resulting EO, it’s an anti-American edict that would empower FCC & FTC to be viewpoint-based arbiters of online speech. Thankfully, 1st Amendment forbids that. It’s regrettable that this Administration doesn’t seem to know that. https://t.co/uKNqE6UKD4
— PEN America (@PENamerica) August 9, 2019
Since Ivacy is all about a free internet, we urge all our users to fight to uphold the First Amendment and to protect the internet from censorships of any kind.