Forbes: President Trump Signs Executive Order Attempting To Control Social Media

May 28, 2020 Media

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that calls for regulating online censorship on social media platforms, primarily Facebook and Twitter, both of which are called out by name on the order. The order consists of eight sections, the last two of which are definitions and general provisions common to these orders.

The primary actions called for in the order are for the Secretary of Commerce to file a petition for rulemaking with the FCC requesting that the agency propose regulations to clarify sections of the Communications Decency Act that allow online platforms to be free from liability for items posted there, but which still give the platforms the ability to moderate content.

“Trump’s executive order on social media is a silly distraction from a serious debate,” said Sarah Miller Executive Director of the Economic Liberties Project in a prepared statement. “This executive order is basically a request to independent agencies, the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, to act in some vague manner. The President cannot single-handedly change a law, he cannot order independent agencies to act, and his executive order reflects that.”

And in fact, the wording of the executive order avoids words that would seem to direct either agency to do anything. It says that the FCC would be sent a proposal for rulemaking, but there’s no legal requirement for it to act. Likewise, the FTC is asked to consider taking action, but is not ordered.