FCC's Pai Initiates Rulemaking to Clarify Section 230 for Social Media

Ruben Fields
October 18, 2020

"However they don't have a First Modification proper to a particular immunity denied to different media retailers, comparable to newspapers and broadcasters".

Pai mentioned he was initiating an official FCC rulemaking continuing searching for to "make clear" how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act applies to social media firms.

On Thursday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he plans on taking up the matter, following a request from the White House.

"Members of all three branches of the federal authorities have expressed critical considerations concerning the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set forth in Section 230 of the Communications Act".

Added Public Knowledge: "The FCC does not have authority to "clarify" Section 230 - it is not a statute that Congress gave the agency any authority over whatsoever", said John Bergmayer, legal director at Public Knowledge.

Under the proposed adjustments, social media platforms might be sued for something which might be deemed censorship comparable to fact-checking.

The New York Post report's treatment has increased the urgency of the calls for reform, with President Trump on Thursday saying, "If Big Tech persists in coordination with the mainstream media, we must immediately strip them of their Section 230 protection".

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"The Commission's General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230". FCC president Ajit Pai announced this, after repeated insistence by United States president Donald Trump to change the rules for companies like Twitter. "The FCC shouldn't do the President's bidding here", tweeted Democrat FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.

"Repealing or limiting section 230 will have the opposite effect".

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.

On Wednesday, conservatives swarmed social media, incensed by Facebook and Twitter's decisions to block the spread of an unverified "smoking gun" article in The New York Post that casts Hunter Biden and his father as corrupt. Final month Lawyer Normal William Barr despatched draft laws to Congress that might restrict the protections below Section 230. In May, he threatened to regulate United States social media companies after Twitter fact-checked two tweets he made about mail-in voting that the company deemed misleading.

U.S. President Donald Trump in May directed the U.S. Commerce Department to file a petition with the FCC seeking to curb legal protections for social media companies over a provision known as "Section 230".

Trump tweeted that it was "so awful that Facebook and Twitter took down the story". "The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know what the hell is going on".

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