President Trump signs Section 230 enforcement targeting ‘censorship’ from Facebook, Twitter, Reddit

President Trump signed an executive order yesterday for government agencies to enforce speech protections across the Internet as the editorial liberties and censorship from Silicon Valley companies continues to expand.

Section 230 is a signature piece of legislation that protects outlets from lawsuits from content posted by users. Many social media sources, Facebook, Google, Reddit and Twitter to censor conservatives, certain remarks or opinions.

Trump cartoon
photo/ donkeyhotey

This order does not change the law, but focus enforcing the laws as they are written, encouraging the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to respond to content moderation and editorial warnings sites have used to protect their audience and users from fake news or misleading content.

“We’re here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers,” Trump said before signing the document.

The order additionally created a council in cooperation with state attorneys general to probe allegations of censorship based on political views.

Tech companies are discussing whether to fight back with a lawsuit challenging the executive order, according to The Washington Post reporting.

Facebook spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois said in a statement that the company believes in protecting freedom of expression along with protecting users from harmful content.“Those rules apply to everybody,” she said. “Repealing or limiting Section 230 will have the opposite effect. It will restrict more speech online, not less.“

Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto said in a statement that undermining Section 230 could hurt the economy and the United States’ role in Internet freedom.

“We have clear content policies and we enforce them without regard to political viewpoint,” she said. “Our platforms have empowered a wide range of people and organizations from across the political spectrum, giving them a voice and new ways to reach their audiences.”
In a tweet Thursday evening, Twitter said that the executive order was “a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law. #Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values. Attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.”

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