Biden Axes Trump’s Executive Order Targeting Big Tech Censorship
Executive Order 13925 revoked giving more power to tech giants
Democrat Joe Biden has revoked Donald Trump's executive order from last year, which targeted big tech's online censorship.
Trump wanted interactive computer services like Twitter, Facebook, and Google to be held responsible for content posted to their platforms.
In Executive Order 13925 of May 28, 2020, Trump wrote:
The policy of the United States should be that “an internet provider be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.”
He also addressed Section 230 of the U.S. Code, which states:
No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.
The “otherwise objectionable” term granted a license to sites such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter to censor what content they deem “otherwise objectionable.”
Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, claimed before congress last year:
“Of course, our ability to provide access to a wide range of information is only possible because of existing legal frameworks, like Section 230."
"The United States adopted Section 230 early in the internet’s history, and it has been foundational to US leadership in the tech sector."
"Section 230 protects the freedom to create and share content while supporting the ability of platforms and services of all sizes to responsibly address harmful content.”
Trump wrote in his executive order:
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information, and to control what people see or do not see. …
Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a “publisher” of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation. As the title of section 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability “protection” to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online platform) that engages in “‘Good Samaritan’ blocking” of harmful content.
In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from taking down harmful material. The provision was also intended to further the express vision of the Congress that the internet is a “forum for a true diversity of political discourse.” The limited protections provided by the statute should be construed with these purposes in mind. …
In particular, subparagraph (c)(2) expressly addresses protections from “civil liability” and specifies that an interactive computer service provider may not be made liable “on account of” its decision in “good faith” to restrict access to content that it considers to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.” It is the policy of the United States to ensure that, to the maximum extent permissible under the law, this provision is not distorted to provide liability protection for online platforms that—far from acting in “good faith” to remove objectionable content—instead engage in deceptive or pretextual actions (often contrary to their stated terms of service) to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree. …
Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike. When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content, and its actions do not meet the criteria of subparagraph (c)(2)(A), it is engaged in editorial conduct. It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.
In March, Trump called on Republican-run states to take action against Big Tech companies for silencing conservatives online.
During his epic comeback speech at CPAC 2021 over the weekend, Trump blasted tech giants as he called for red state leaders to impose "major sanctions" against firms that censor conservatives.
“The time has come to break up big tech monopolies and restore fair competition,” President Trump declared.
“Republicans, conservatives must open up our platforms and repeal Section 230 liability protection."