'The Decision Is Ours Alone' Says FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks Regarding Trump's Social Media Executive Order
Commissioner Geoffrey Starks rejected President Donald Trump's order that the Federal Communications Commission should stay away from the debate over the liability of social media platforms for the content published on them.
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The implementing regulation would affect social media companies like Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), which are not liable for illegal content that they host as long as they remove it as required by law.
Trump signed the order after he was reviewed by Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) last month for a tweet related to voting errors.
The Executive Ordinance requires Attorney General William Barr to draft laws that would affect Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act 1996.
Starks considered the executive order and said there were good reasons to stay out of the debate. He added: "The decision is ours alone."
Why is it important?
Some government officials believe protection is being extended to social media, and others, such as YouTube by Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: toget) (NASDAQ: togetL), are suppressing freedom of speech, Techcrunch reported.
Starks is one of the five FCC commissioners, and the federal agency has yet to discuss the executive order.
The Commissioner reaffirmed the independence of the FCC and said: "The Executive Regulation is definitely doing one thing right, and that means the President cannot direct the FCC to do this or anything else."
The Commissioner made it clear that he did not think the law was perfect, but that the method by which it was changed was not justified.
The Department of Justice has also interfered in this matter and is making its own recommendations.
Starks noted that the first change to the constitution allowed social media companies to "freely censor content that the government could never" and also protects these companies from government retaliation.
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