President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order, which puts social media giants Twitter, Facebook and YouTube on notice, that they can’t hide behind the old rules with their political bias.
The order is to ensure that these social media platforms need to be open forums with First Amendment guarantees. The new law walks back the “liability shield” these companies use under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which “allow websites that were acting as bulletin boards” not be responsible for third-party information, Attorney General Bill Barr said at the signing.
Barr pointed out that once these sites begin censoring or shadow banning users over political thought and speech they cease being a information platform and become publishers with a view point under Section 230.
“It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.”
The executive order comes after Twitter “fact checked” a Trump tweet on the hazards of mail-in voting.
The DOJ and states attorneys general will work with the FCC on enforcement rules and procedures.
“As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today’s digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice. We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.”