‘When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A day after Twitter implemented its duplicitous new policy for fact-checking President Donald Trump, the president struck back with an executive order to hold the notoriously biased social-media giant more accountable for its own practices.
This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020
The website Protocol appeared to have obtained in advance a leaked draft version of the order, which called out online platforms for “invoking inconsistent, irrational, and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise punish Americans’ speech.”
However, the order not only held to task Twitter for its double-standards and censorship against conservatives.
It also criticized platforms like Google that were “profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments like China” as the president seeks to hold the Asian super-power fully accountable for its cover-up of the coronavirus.
Trump’s order sought to clarify the vague statutory immunity that many virtue-signaling Silicon Valley megaliths have claimed via the Communications Decency Act.
Currently, it allows these online platforms to assert “publisher” status and receive First Amendment freedom from many forms of oversight while simultaneously denying some users that same right by claiming they are private companies able to set their own arbitrary community guidelines.
The law stipulates that such publishers are permitted to make “good faith” efforts to filter specific violations of content that are considered “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.”
But the new order charges that those going outside the scope of the law to further censor speech should be designated as “editor” instead of “publisher,” and therefore subject to legal constraints such as defamation laws.
“When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not meet the criteria … it is engaged in editorial conduct,” said the order.
“By making itself an editor of content … such a provider forfeits any protection from being deemed a ‘publisher or speaker’ … which properly applies only to a provider that merely provides a platform for content supplied by others,” it said.
The executive action also proposes several other changes including:
- A comprehensive review of federal advertising dollars spent on the tech platforms
- Additional measures empowering the Federal Trade Commission to penalize platforms that exhibit bias
- Establishment of a panel to review complaints of unfair or deceptive practices like user “watch lists”
Trump noted in the order that such platforms have become essential services to many, but that the current practices they engaged had the potential to do more harm than benefit.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online,” said the order.
“This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic,” it said. “When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”
After long benefiting from the ideological imbalance, though, the Left made clear that it had no intention of relinquishing its advantage without a fight.
Prior to the release of the executive order on Thursday, Breitbart reported on the launch of a new activist group called Accountable Tech that aimed, in true Orwellian fashion, to do just the opposite of its name by lobbying to ensure that platforms continued to be unaccountable for their censorship.
The dark-money-funded group filed as a tax-exempt “social welfare” organization, but its two listed employees were tied to a long list of partisan causes and campaigns.
Despite the blatant lies apparent in the group’s mission statement, Twitter had not yet, at press time, “contextualized” any of its tweets with a “fact check.”
.@accountabletech will push for social media platforms to take immediate, meaningful, and achievable actions to better serve the public & live up to their founding ideals.
— Nicole Gill (@nicolelgill) May 27, 2020