President Trump plans to nominate official for FCC amid social media push

Federal Communications Commission

President Trump, pressing for new social networking regulations, intends to nominate a senior government official for a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the White House has said.

The nomination of Nathan Simington, a senior adviser at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), comes after the White House abruptly announced in early August it was withdrawing the nomination of Republican FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly to serve another term.

Trump issued an executive order in May requiring the NTIA to petition the FCC asking the commission to impose new regulations on social networking moderation practices after Twitter Inc warned subscribers to fact-check his posts about unsubstantiated allegations of fraud at mail-in voting.

Simington helped draft the May executive order, the Washington Post reported.

By contrast, O’Rielly expressed scepticism about whether the FCC had authority to issue new regulations covering social networking companies. Back in July, he stated the”the First Amendment protects us from limits on speech imposed by the government – not private actors – and we should all reject demands, in the name of the First Amendment, for private actors to curate or publish speech in a certain way.”

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O’Rielly, that hasn’t commented about the White House withdrawal of his title, congratulated Simington Tuesday at a Twitter post on his nomination “and offer best wishes for a smooth confirmation process and successful term.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai opened NTIA’s petition to public comment. He’s declined to comment on its merits.

A group representing major online companies including Facebook and Amazon.com urged the FCC to deny the request, stating the campaign “is misguided, lacks grounding in law, and poses serious public policy concerns.”

SECTION 230

NTIA requested the FCC to restrict protections for social networking companies under Section 230, a provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that shields social media firms from liability for content submitted by their customers and enables them to eliminate lawful but objectionable posts.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this news article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by David Shepardson and Eric Beech. Editing by Peter Cooney and Christopher Cushing.

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