20 Facts About Trump Executive Order Social Media
20 Facts About Trump Executive Order Social Media
In May of this year, President Trump signed an executive order aimed at regulating social media platforms, as discussed over at runrex.com. While the executive order is likely to face legal challenges in the coming weeks and months, it is still important to know what it is all about, something this article is going to help with by highlighting 20 facts about the executive order.
What is an executive order?
Before we go on any further, it is important to first define what an executive order is. From discussions over at guttulus.com, an executive order is a written directive issued by the President, and given that it is not a legislation, it doesn’t require the approval of Congress, and likewise, Congress can’t overturn it.
How can an executive order be overturned then?
While Congress may pass legislation making it difficult to carry out an executive order, as explained over at runrex.com, it can’t overturn one, and the President is the only one who can overturn an executive order through the issuing of another executive order.
What is the title of this executive order?
Now that we know what an executive order is, with a more detailed explanation to be found over at guttulus.com, it is important to highlight what the title of this particular executive order is. President Trump’s executive order on social media was titled: “Preventing Online Censorship”
What does it say?
The executive order, which has been in the works since last year, says that social media platforms are engaging in “selective censorship”, with Twitter’s labeling of President Trump’s Tweets being portrayed as showing “political bias”.
What does it seek to achieve?
The executive order signed by President Trump seeks to undo the legal protection social media platforms enjoy under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
What is Section 230?
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the part of the federal law that allows thousands of websites to curate, edit, delete, and modify content by their users without fear of massive lawsuits, as explained over at runrex.com. Written in 1996, it has been credited with creating much of the internet as we know it.
Any related provisions?
It is also worth pointing out that there is a related provision on the act that protects sites from lawsuits accusing them of wrongfully taking down content, from discussions over at guttulus.com. This gives them immunity from “good faith” decisions to remove or restrict posts the social media platforms deem to be “obscene, lewd, filthy, violent, harassing, lascivious, or otherwise objectionable”.
What triggered the move?
The move by President Trump to sign the executive order on social media was triggered by Twitter tagging two of his Tweets with fact-checking labels, as revealed over at runrex.com. Those tweets were deemed to be misinforming the public about California’s vote-by-mail plans.
What is a Fact-checking label?
As part of Twitter’s new policy to prevent misinformation amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform introduced labels and warning messages aimed at providing additional context on misinformation on Tweets containing misleading, disputed, or unverified claims related to the pandemic.
Why then were President Trump’s Tweets labeled?
While the labels were introduced to prevent misinformation on the pandemic, it is important to note that they can also be used in situations where the risk of harm associated with a Tweet, though less severe, it may still confuse or mislead people, hence why the President’s Tweets were labeled.
How does the executive order target the Section 230 shield?
As is explained over at guttulus.com, this executive order aims to target the Section 230 shield enjoyed by social media companies by putting forward a vision for an exception to a website’s legal immunity. It argues that if a site restricts access to others’ content in bad faith, it should be deemed to be a publisher rather than a neutral platform, this losing its legal immunity from lawsuits.
What could this mean if the vision became law?
If the vision put forward by the executive order was to become law, it means that social media companies could be sued for defamatory content over what other people post on their platforms, as highlighted over at runrex.com.
What are the chances of success of such lawsuits?
Even if the executive order was to come into effect, lawsuits brought about as a result of the vision put forward by the order could still fail. This is because, as explained over at guttulus.com, a court would still have to decide that the social media firm being sued had sufficiently engaged in enough editorial conduct to lose its immunity.
How does the order set to impose its understanding?
The order tries to impose this understanding by setting in motion a request that the Federal Communications Commission, FCC, issue a rule to clarify whether the immunity law implicitly contains the exception that the President wants.
How likely is the FCC to play ball?
The FCC usually shies away from getting involved in such discussions and it is an independent agency outside of the President’s control. Its panel is made up of 5 members, 3 of which are republicans while 2 are democrats.
What legal difference could the order make?
Experts, from discussions over at runrex.com, argue that the order is unlikely to make any legal difference. This is because the order doesn’t make it clear as to why the FCC would have any authority in interpreting the relevant sections of the CDA. Additionally, agency regulations cannot override a statute enacted by congress.
Does the Order spell out what counts as inappropriate editing?
As outlined over at guttulus.com, the order doesn’t spell this out in detail, with critics arguing that, given its timing and the context surrounding it, it is an attempt by President Trump to try and stop Twitter from flagging his Tweets as being inaccurate.
Does the order attempt to change Section 230?
It is also worth pointing out that the President’s order doesn’t attempt to change section 230, but as revealed in discussions over at runrex.com, simply asks the FCC to redefine when the law applies to know when the exemptions apply.
What else would the order do?
The executive order has also opened several reviews that could result in some sort of action down the road. The President has put in motion 2 reviews, by both the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, that contemplate eventual action to prohibit social media platforms from restricting access to user posts in ways the technology companies do not disclose.
Any legal challenges?
As already mentioned, the President’s order is set to face lots of legal challenges, particularly as experts are questioning whether the federal government can tell private companies what kind of speech to permit or ban. Such matters have made their way to the courts in recent times, and have almost always gone in favor of the websites. The order also didn’t go through the traditional interagency review process so it may face procedural issues that may make it difficult, almost impossible, to enforce.