Americans are living through a very salient fight for the future of free speech, whether they realize it or not.
We as a species are moving ever more of our communications to the online realm. Email, messaging apps, and social media are allowing mankind to speak to one another instantly – something that is fundamentally changing the power structures of our society. Information is the new currency, and finding the most popular and streamlined way to harvest data is the modern day, online gold rush that is fueling this massive societal shift.
One thing that we’ve learned since 2016, however, is that a great many within the halls of power in Silicon Valley are ardent leftists, and they aren’t afraid of using their reach to stifle and stymy their political opponents. Their censorship has grown so blatant that the President himself has vowed to take action, somehow, to protect the First Amendment online.
A leaked draft of a possible executive action regarding online censorship has now confirmed a possible plan to tackle the issue…but it isn’t getting the reaction that the White House would have liked.
Donald Trump is considering a sweeping executive order to give the Federal Communications Commission authority to oversee how social media platforms curate content, CNN reported Friday.
CNN reported that it had obtained a summary of a draft of the executive order, titled “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship.” According to the network, the draft said that the Trump administration has received at least “15,000 anecdotal complaints” about censorship of certain political viewpoints on social media, and will share them with the FCC.
Just how would this enforcement come to be?
According to CNN, the executive order would also ask the Federal Trade Commission to open a public complaint forum of its own and work with the FCC to produce a report into how tech companies curate content. The network said also that the order would target platforms with month users equaling or surpassing one-eighth of the population of the United States, and specifically names Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.
The draft executive order also seeks to limit the interpretation of a key part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from liability for most of what users post if the companies in question act “in good faith,” CNN reporting, adding that the executive order would specifically ask the FCC to disqualify tech companies from the good faith provision if it is determined the company removed content “without notifying the user who posted the material, or if the decision is proven to be evidence of anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive practices.”
Freedom advocates are concerned that weaponizing the FCC against free, unregulated speech online could lead to abuse of the system in the future.
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