The White House has drafted a proposal which would grant Federal bodies the power to control how social media platforms moderate their users. The proposal targets firms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, and any others who have a user base over an 8th of the US population.
The draft order […] calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies.
While social media companies in the US are allowed to host all sort of content without being personally liable for it, as per Section 230. It allows then immunity when they take down objectionable content as well. This new law will increase the liability of firms as per their content. It also would force them to fall under the FTC and FCC microscope when removing content and being investigated for any way that is “anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive.”
This executive order would be a disaster for free speech. It would essentially make Ajit Pai head of the Internet free speech police, and dangerously undermine CDA 230, the law that protections basic expression online. Just an all around dumpster fire https://t.co/qplHYYKLFG
— Fight for the Future (@fightfortheftr) August 9, 2019
If this accurately reflects resulting EO, it's an anti-American edict that would empower FCC & FTC to be viewpoint-based arbiters of online speech. Thankfully, 1st Amendment forbids that. It's regrettable that this Administration doesn't seem to know that. https://t.co/uKNqE6UKD4
— PEN America (@PENamerica) August 9, 2019
While this is done ostensibly to defend the principle “free speech”, it is worth noting that free speech means that the government cannot cause one to say something, nor restrict them from saying another thing. This law would in effect place federal agencies in charge of adjudicating what speech is worthy of being restricted online, or not.