US President Biden has officially revoked an executive order by President Donald Trump that had directed regulators to limit liability protections for social media businesses.
The White House released an order by Biden late Friday revoking several of Trump’s executive orders. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Center for Democracy and Technology, which had sued to block Trump’s May 2020 order, praised Biden’s reversal, arguing President Trump’s order “was an attempt to use threats of retaliation to coerce social media companies into allowing disinformation and hateful speech to go unchecked.”
Trump unsuccessfully demanded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) set new rules to limit protections for social media firms under the 1996 Communications Decency Act. It shields the companies from liability for content posted by their users and allows them to remove lawful but objectionable posts.
President Trump, who made his anger with social media companies a campaign theme, issued his order after Twitter tagged his tweets about mail-in voting fraud with a warning to readers.
President Biden on the other hand does not use a computer and (likely) does not make social media posts himself. The Biden-Harris campaign received huge donations from political activists in silicon valley and has not been censured by social media businesses.
After President Trump’s posts following the Capitol building attacks, Twitter and Facebook barred Trump from posting on their sites, and the following day FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he would not act on Trump’s request to limit social media liability protections.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Twitter declined comment but referred to its initial statement about Trump’s order, which called it “reactionary and politicized.”
RETURNING THE FAVOUR?
Many legal experts and internet companies argued the FCC had no authority to issue regulations under the 1996 law. However, the move by the current Biden-Harris administration will be viewed by many not as the first step to the replacement of the order, but of a struggling administration looking to return the favour to their trusted allies.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Cynthia Osterman. Commentary by Rob Phillips.
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