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Politics Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform

02:15  18 october  2020
02:15  18 october  2020 Source:   thehill.com

The FCC is examining whether to roll back Section 230 laws that protect social media firms, drawing fire for being Trump's 'puppet'

  The FCC is examining whether to roll back Section 230 laws that protect social media firms, drawing fire for being Trump's 'puppet' FCC chair Ajit Pai said the agency would "clarify the meaning" of Section 230, which protects Big Tech companies. President Trump wants it revoked.FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced Thursday the Commission would "clarify the meaning" of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Some conservatives believe Section 230 has aided tech companies' ability to censor speech they don't agree with. Tech companies have vigorously defended Section 230 , testifying to Congress repeatedly about how it allows them to remove the most objectionable content from their platforms

A group of Republican senators has pushed to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of The senators remarked that while technology companies enjoy protections under Section 230 Twitter bans conservative figures such as Laura Loomer, yet ignores mass shooters who post

Conservatives have seized on Facebook and Twitter's handling of this week's controversial New York Post story on Hunter Biden to attack tech's legal liability shield.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform © Bonnie Cash Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform

The decisions by both companies to limit the spread of the dubious article - by Twitter for breaking a policy on hacked materials, by Facebook as precaution - was used as evidence for Republican's allegations of anti-conservative bias in social media.

President Trump in particular has used the episode to reenergize the crusade he's led against Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act since signing an executive order targeting it in May.

Trump vs. Big Tech: Everything you need to know about Section 230 and why everyone hates it

  Trump vs. Big Tech: Everything you need to know about Section 230 and why everyone hates it Section 230, a provision to a 1996 law that shields Facebook and Google from liability for what users post, is increasingly under fire from Trump.The Communications Decency Act is an obscure law passed by Congress in 1996 that has profoundly shaped today’s internet.

“REPEAL SECTION 230 !!!” the president added, referring to the provision in the Communications Decency Act shielding social media platforms from It was a drastic reaction to a story citing emails found on a laptop left at a Delaware repair shop, purporting to show communications between Hunter

The New York Post blasted the companies, saying they were trying to help Biden’s election campaign and falsely claiming no one had disputed the story ’s Even non- conservatives criticized the choice to limit the spread of the article as one that will play into the rightwing narrative that big tech firms censor

"Now, Big Tech - you see what's going on with Big Tech? - is censoring these stories to try and get Biden out of this impossible jam. He's in a big jam," Trump said at a rally Thursday.

The New York Post article alleged that Hunter Biden, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's son, had organized a meeting between a Ukrainian businessman and his father, who was vice president at the time. That claim was based on emails obtained from a hard drive with no substantive links to anyone involved.

The Biden campaign has denied any such meeting and pointed to numerous investigations that have all concluded there was "no wrongdoing" by the former vice president regarding Ukraine. Facebook and Twitter both moved to clamp down on the story - the former based on its hacked materials policy and because of sensitive information not redacted from the emails in the story, the latter because of unknown "signals."

Top Republicans call to punish social media sites for limiting reach of dubious Biden exposé

  Top Republicans call to punish social media sites for limiting reach of dubious Biden exposé A questionable New York Post story smearing Joe and Hunter Biden is limited in its social spread, sparking GOP fury Donald Trump | Facebook and Twitter logos Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/Facebook/Twitter

The Post story Wednesday said emails purportedly from Hunter Biden show he introduced his He didn’t directly say whether this was why Facebook took action on the New York Post content. Allegations of bias against conservatives , which the companies deny, have also spawned a litany of

After the New York Post dropped a bombshell story about Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s Ukrainian business dealings on Wednesday, social media Twitter and Facebook’s silencing of the story ’s spread aroused fury among conservatives , with Sens.

Section 230 gives online platform legal liability for content posted by third parties while allowing them to do good faith content moderation. While there have been bipartisan efforts to amend or revoke the 1996 law, the recent broadside by Trump and Republicans show how the issue has become increasingly partisan.

Multiple conservatives spoke out about 230 for the first time this week.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) seemed to call for a full on repeal of the statute for the first time on Thursday.

"It's clear Section 230 in its current form is no longer working," he said during a press conference. "It is time to scrap the law and start over."

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce panel on consumer protection, joined her committee colleagues in calling for reform after warning just a year ago about the free speech implications of weakening Section 230.

Only Way to Save the Republican Party: Free It From the Conservative Movement

  Only Way to Save the Republican Party: Free It From the Conservative Movement A truly radical vision for a non-pathological GOP.In place of the usual gloating, the right has been engaged in a furious intramural debate over whether to burn down the Republican Party in the wake of Trump’s expected (but hardly assured) defeat. Advocates for burning it down include Max Boot, George Will, Stuart Stevens, Charlie Sykes, Mona Charen, and Jonathan V. Last. Critics include David French, Rich Lowry, and Peggy Noonan. Somewhat in the middle lie Ross Douthat, David Brooks,  Jonah Goldberg, Ramesh Ponnuru, and Kevin D. Williamson. In yesterday’s New York Times, former George W.

Conservatives are playing up her gender, and Democrats aren't letting her distance herself from The Post offers several ways to securely send information and documents to journalists. The New York Post said it received a “smoking-gun” email about Hunter Biden and his father from former New York

7. Posting links in other subs pointing to specific submissions or comments here is subject to a ban, depending on context. Twitter and Facebook immediately pulled the NY Post article and prevented distribution for political purposes to protect a candidate they want in office.

"These top platforms must be held accountable for the content bias and how they're influencing the election," she said during an event hosted by Politico Thursday.

Those new voices are in addition to the Republicans who have already been beating the anti-Big Tech drum for years.

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), who is now writing a book on supposed anti-conservative bias in Big Tech, called for Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter's Jack Dorsey to testify, alleging that their content moderation decisions amounted to in-kind campaign contributions to former Vice President Joe Biden.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused the platforms of election interference.

"This is election interference, and we are 19 days out from an election," he told reporters yesterday. "Never before have we seen active censorship of a major press publication with serious allegations of corruption of one of the two candidates for president."

And even though both Zuckerberg and Dorsey are already set to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee later this month, the Republican leadership of the Judiciary Committee promised to subpoena them next week over the New York Post saga.

Twitter botched its own moderation policies by banning a New York Post story and added fuel to the right's baseless belief that Big Tech is waging a war against conservatives

  Twitter botched its own moderation policies by banning a New York Post story and added fuel to the right's baseless belief that Big Tech is waging a war against conservatives It's an example of the danger that can result when tech firms take inconsistent action in how it moderates content, especially ahead of an election.On Wednesday, the New York Post, owned by Fox News mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp, published a dubious report purporting to show evidence that Hunter Biden, the son of Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, was in cahoots with a Ukrainian official. You can read a digestible timeline of the erratic series of events spelled out in the article here. (The FBI is now investigating whether the emails were part of a foreign intelligence operation.

There are seven members of the conservative bloc on the board, but they are often joined by one of the other three Republicans on crucial votes. The conservative members maintain that they are trying to correct what they see as a liberal bias among the teachers who proposed the curriculum.

New York Times Opinion columnists, editorials and op-eds. Analysis from David Brooks, Maureen Dowd, Charles Blow, Paul Krugman and others. Advertisement. Continue reading the main story . Supported by.

The subpoena would have the CEOs appear as early as next week.

Just as Republicans are escalating their challenges to Section 230, the Federal Communications Commission is picking up Trump's challenge to the rule.

Chairman Ajit Pai announced Thursday that the agency is moving forward with "a rulemaking to clarify" to the law considered foundational to the modern internet.

The FCC's grounds to amend the law are shaky at best given that it is a law written by Congress.

"Congress never granted the FCC the power to interpret Section 230," Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel at NetChoice, said Thursday. "The history and text of the law both confirm that the FCC lacks the authority to regulate the online speech through Section 230."

The Democrats on the committee, Commissioners Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel, have slammed Pai's decision to consider the administration's proposal.

Pai and fellow Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr are both in favor.

That leaves Republican Michael O'Reilly, who had his nomination to serve a second term pulled by the White House shortly after signaling opposition to Section 230 reform, as the swing vote.

Soon though it could be Nathan Simington, the Trump pick to replace O'Rielly that has a nomination hearing scheduled shortly after the election.

Simington played a major role in drafting the petition from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) that the FCC is now considering while he was at the Department of Commerce subagency, suggesting he will support rulemaking on Section 230.

It is unclear how committed Republicans actually are to scrapping the law entirely. Revoking Section 230 could ultimately result in more censorship as platforms would have to make sure posts are legally sound before letting them be published.

"If [Trump] got his way, websites would become legally responsible for the opinions, videos, and memes posted by their users," Evan Greer, deputy director at internet rights group Fight for The Future, said in a statement Thursday. "Social media platforms would likely engage in mass censorship and banning of accounts rather than open themselves up to lawsuits for hosting controversial opinions -- Trump's accounts would surely be among the first to go."

However, constantly threatening to axe an important legal liability whenever platforms take action against conservative content does send a clear signal to tech companies about how Republicans would like them to operate.

Trump’s presidential campaign is Too Online .
President Trump’s campaign is shaped by, and aimed at, an audience largely existing on Twitter.If you do not recognize the name “Bruce Ohr,” that’s not because you are inadequately informed — he does not really have a claim to fame. Bruce Ohr, who was a former associate deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, is best known for meeting with former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele, author of the “Steele dossier.” (That’s the document that alleged Trump was under the influence of Russian intelligence services, who had supposedly also compiled blackmail material on him.

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This is interesting!