White House Issues Executive Order Aimed At Online Speech, Social Media Companies

BY Heather Greenfield
May 28, 2020

Washington – President Trump escalated his threat to free speech online today. From the Oval Office, Trump denounced social media, expressing his desire to shut Twitter down.  The President then explained why he relied on social media so heavily to directly reach a broad audience. Trump made these remarks as he signed an executive order threatening crucial liability protections for online intermediaries that have enabled users to post content online.

Today’s order directs various government agencies to review the law that has enabled free speech online to thrive, while also empowering companies to take down misinformation, spurious public health claims, and violent extremist content, among other types of online abuse. The order asks the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether they can impose any new regulations on internet companies to give the government greater oversight over private companies’ policies on what type of speech and content users can post.

The President also stated that he had asked Attorney General Barr to pressure Congress to alter the law that currently protects online services from liability for the misconduct of other internet users, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The Computer & Communications Industry Association has advocated against government censorship of the internet for more than 20 years. The following can be attributed to CCIA President Matt Schruers:

“Claims of systemic bias by social media companies are a fiction intended to pressure companies into making content moderation decisions more favorable to the Administration.  Setting regulators upon the private sector to achieve that end is a grave misuse of government resources in a time of national crisis.” 

“In light of threats including the ongoing pandemic, policymakers have asked digital services to do more to address misinformation online and companies have responded, as Twitter did with one of the President’s tweets this week. Companies rely upon Section 230 to take these steps.  Today’s effort to unilaterally reinterpret that law by Executive Order undermines efforts to remove misinformation during a public health crisis, and is not only unlawful, but irresponsible.”

For media inquiries, please contact Heather Greenfield [email protected]

Related Articles

Judge Grants Preliminary Injunction Blocking Unconstitutional Florida Law

Jun 30, 2021

Washington — A Florida judge has ruled the state’s new law regulating internet speech violates the First Amendment and federal law and should not take effect tomorrow. U.S. District Judge Robert Hinkle said in a ruling issued Wednesday evening that the Florida law does not survive strict scrutiny and parts also are expressly preempted by…

CCIA Co-signs Industry Statement On the European Parliament DSA Report

Jun 23, 2021

Brussels, BELGIUM — Today CCIA signed on to a joint industry statement in reaction to the European Parliament’s draft report on the Digital Services Act (DSA). The statement outlines concerns with the approach taken by the Rapporteur as it “would dampen the ability of Europe’s tech sector to continue to grow and innovate – creating…

CCIA, NetChoice File Motion To Block Unconstitutional Florida Content Moderation Law

Jun 4, 2021

Washington — The Computer & Communications Industry Association has co-filed a motion for preliminary injunction with NetChoice, asking a Tallahassee federal district court to block an unconstitutional state law from taking effect next month. The motion follows the two plaintiffs’ lawsuit last week, which challenged the measure. The Florida law infringes on rights of freedom…