31 votes

Trump signs executive order designed to limit the legal protections that shield social media companies from liability for the content users post on their platforms

16 comments

  1. [7]
    Omnicrola
    Link
    There would seem to be a bit of irony in this. So let's get this straight. Trump posts lies, misleading statements, and inflammatory videos on Twitter every single day. Twitter can allow him and...

    There would seem to be a bit of irony in this.

    The order focuses on a portion of the Communications Decency Act known as Section 230, which grants broad liability protections to tech platforms from civil suits when it comes to what users post

    So let's get this straight. Trump posts lies, misleading statements, and inflammatory videos on Twitter every single day. Twitter can allow him and others do this because section 230 protects Twitter from being sued for content posted by users.

    So now Twitter has taken a small measured step toward addressing some of the content without going all in and removing it. So Trump's reaction is to sign an order directing the FCC to remove some of the safe harbor protections section 230 provides Twitter. Which means Twitter would be more responsible for user content, which makes it more likely to take down content in the future to protect itself from civil liability.

    .... Did I miss a step here??

    24 votes
    1. aphoenix
      Link Parent
      There is an implicit step where it seems like there's is an assumption that this action had some basis in being reasonable, and isn't just a tantrum from the worst president of all time.

      There is an implicit step where it seems like there's is an assumption that this action had some basis in being reasonable, and isn't just a tantrum from the worst president of all time.

      24 votes
    2. pallas
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      Making the improbable assumption that the removal of Section 230 protections actually worked, then my understanding is that it would be completely infeasible for Twitter to actually operate. Their...

      Which means Twitter would be more responsible for user content, which makes it more likely to take down content in the future to protect itself from civil liability.

      Making the improbable assumption that the removal of Section 230 protections actually worked, then my understanding is that it would be completely infeasible for Twitter to actually operate. Their choice would appear to be:

      • Perform no moderation at all, and allow all content. This is not viable in modern society.
      • Be responsible for all posted content, when it is posted, as though the company had posted it, in the way that a newspaper, for example, can be held liable for the content of its articles. It doesn't seem that taking down content after posting would protect them. They'd have to vet each post before releasing it. Any potential copyright infringement claimant, or defamation claimant, or any other person with a potential complaint, would now have a gold mine: they could just go after Twitter.

      Section 230 was meant to deal with a series of US court rulings that put online forums in a ridiculous situation in the early 1990s. Essentially, CompuServe decided not to have any moderation, whereas Prodigy tried to have some basic content guidelines, and had moderators that removed offensive content. As a result, two court rulings held that CompuServe was not liable for content, even if it was inarguably defamatory, whereas Prodigy, in large part because they did basic things like banning expletives, were liable for everything every user wrote, including things like complex defamatory claims about an investment firm and an IPO.

      13 votes
    3. [2]
      MonkeyPants
      Link Parent
      Trump’s Executive Order Targets Social Media Liability Protections That Allow for His Dubious Posts
      7 votes
    4. [2]
      braingoo
      Link Parent
      it's actually quite simple. Trump's order takes control of the powers of censorship away from social media companies, and puts it in his own government's hands.

      it's actually quite simple. Trump's order takes control of the powers of censorship away from social media companies, and puts it in his own government's hands.

      1 vote
  2. [4]
    Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    Here's the official order text: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-preventing-online-censorship/ The general opinion overall seems to be that this order won't actually...

    I don't think the actual order is available yet, but I'll get a link to it in here as soon as possible.

    Here's the official order text: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-preventing-online-censorship/

    The general opinion overall seems to be that this order won't actually have any legal weight, but it could cause some attempts and consequences anyway. We'll really just have to wait and see.

    17 votes
    1. [3]
      Flashynuff
      Link Parent
      There is a link to a draft of the executive order linked in the first paragraph of this article....

      There is a link to a draft of the executive order linked in the first paragraph of this article. https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2020/05/leaked-trump-order-is-a-wide-ranging-attack-on-facebook-and-twitter/

      5 votes
      1. [2]
        Deimos
        Link Parent
        Yeah, I read through the draft last night, but we really didn't know if it was exactly what they were going to go with, or if they'd end up chopping some entire sections out or even adding new...

        Yeah, I read through the draft last night, but we really didn't know if it was exactly what they were going to go with, or if they'd end up chopping some entire sections out or even adding new ones.

        I edited in a link to the official text of the order into my post now, I haven't compared it to the draft yet though.

        5 votes
  3. [2]
    Deimos
    Link
    The EFF's response: Trump Executive Order Misreads Key Law Promoting Free Expression Online and Violates the First Amendment Mike Masnick of Techdirt's: The Two Things To Understand About Trump's...
    9 votes
    1. Deimos
      Link Parent
      One more response/analysis article from today that I think is especially worth reading, from Adi Robertson at The Verge: Line by line analysis of Trump's internet censorship executive order

      One more response/analysis article from today that I think is especially worth reading, from Adi Robertson at The Verge: Line by line analysis of Trump's internet censorship executive order

      4 votes
  4. suspended
    Link
    Trump's narcissism has gone through the roof. He signed it only in his own self interest. On a side note, I have been completely repulsed and disgusted by this current administration and their...

    Trump's narcissism has gone through the roof. He signed it only in his own self interest.

    On a side note, I have been completely repulsed and disgusted by this current administration and their crimes against humanity as well as the planet.

    I stopped following US politics months ago for my own sanity.

    14 votes
  5. [2]
    culturedleftfoot
    Link
    Forget Net Neutrality, what we needed was Social Media Neutrality.

    Forget Net Neutrality, what we needed was Social Media Neutrality.

    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. culturedleftfoot
        Link Parent
        Whoops. This should have been in response to @Omnicrola's observation of irony, and was entirely sarcastic.

        Whoops. This should have been in response to @Omnicrola's observation of irony, and was entirely sarcastic.

        1 vote