Win for Climate Skeptics: Trump’s EO Begins to Strip Section 230 Protection from Social Media Giants

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

In a huge win for climate skeptics and Conservatives, President Trump just signed an Executive Order to curb the alleged abuses of social media giants and their allegedly biased “fact checkers”.

Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship

 Issued on: May 28, 2020

By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

Section 1.  Policy.  Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy.  Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution.  The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.

In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet.  This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.  When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.  They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.

The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology.  Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms.  As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

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.

As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes.  It is essential to sustaining our democracy.

Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse.  Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms “flagging” content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.

Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias.  As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet.  As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets.  Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.

At the same time online platforms are invoking inconsistent, irrational, and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans’ speech here at home, several online platforms are profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments like China.  One United States company, for example, created a search engine for the Chinese Communist Party that would have blacklisted searches for “human rights,” hid data unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party, and tracked users determined appropriate for surveillance.  It also established research partnerships in China that provide direct benefits to the Chinese military.  Other companies have accepted advertisements paid for by the Chinese government that spread false information about China’s mass imprisonment of religious minorities, thereby enabling these abuses of human rights.  They have also amplified China’s propaganda abroad, including by allowing Chinese government officials to use their platforms to spread misinformation regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to undermine pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today’s digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice.  We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.

Sec. 2.  Protections Against Online Censorship.  (a)  It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.  Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)).  47 U.S.C. 230(c).  It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.

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.”  47 U.S.C. 230(a)(3).  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.

(b)  To advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section, all executive departments and agencies should ensure that their application of section 230(c) properly reflects the narrow purpose of the section and take all appropriate actions in this regard.  In addition, within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Attorney General, and acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), shall file a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations to clarify:

(i) the interaction between subparagraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of section 230, in particular to clarify and determine the circumstances under which a provider of an interactive computer service that restricts access to content in a manner not specifically protected by subparagraph (c)(2)(A) may also not be able to claim protection under subparagraph (c)(1), which merely states that a provider shall not be treated as a publisher or speaker for making third-party content available and does not address the provider’s responsibility for its own editorial decisions;

(ii)  the conditions under which an action restricting access to or availability of material is not “taken in good faith” within the meaning of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) of section 230, particularly whether actions can be “taken in good faith” if they are:

(A)  deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider’s terms of service; or

(B)  taken after failing to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, or a meaningful opportunity to be heard; and

(iii)  any other proposed regulations that the NTIA concludes may be appropriate to advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section.

Sec. 3.  Protecting Federal Taxpayer Dollars from Financing Online Platforms That Restrict Free Speech.  (a)  The head of each executive department and agency (agency) shall review its agency’s Federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms.  Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their receipt of advertising dollars.

(b)  Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

(c)  The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.

Sec. 4.  Federal Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices.  (a)  It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech.  The Supreme Court has noted that social media sites, as the modern public square, “can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.”  Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017).  Communication through these channels has become important for meaningful participation in American democracy, including to petition elected leaders.  These sites are providing an important forum to the public for others to engage in free expression and debate.  CfPruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 85-89 (1980).

(b)  In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship.  In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints.  The White House will submit such complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

(c)  The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code.  Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by entities covered by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.

(d)  For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of this order.  The FTC shall consider developing a report describing such complaints and making the report publicly available, consistent with applicable law.

Sec. 5.  State Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices and Anti-Discrimination Laws.  (a)  The Attorney General shall establish a working group regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.  The working group shall also develop model legislation for consideration by legislatures in States where existing statutes do not protect Americans from such unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The working group shall invite State Attorneys General for discussion and consultation, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.

(b) Complaints described in section 4(b) of this order will be shared with the working group, consistent with applicable law. The working group shall also collect publicly available information regarding the following:

(i) increased scrutiny of users based on the other users they choose to follow, or their interactions with other users;

(ii) algorithms to suppress content or users based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint;

(iii) differential policies allowing for otherwise impermissible behavior, when committed by accounts associated with the Chinese Communist Party or other anti-democratic associations or governments;

(iv) reliance on third-party entities, including contractors, media organizations, and individuals, with indicia of bias to review content; and

(v) acts that limit the ability of users with particular viewpoints to earn money on the platform compared with other users similarly situated.

Sec. 6.  Legislation.  The Attorney General shall develop a proposal for Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives of this order.

Sec. 7.  Definition.  For purposes of this order, the term “online platform” means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.

Sec. 8.  General Provisions. (a)  Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i)    the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or

(ii)   the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

(b)  This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

(c)  This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

Source: https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/executive-order-preventing-online-censorship/

Social media giants are not prohibited from publishing biased fact checks or deleting content they dislike – free speech is guaranteed by the US Constitution. But if such behaviour oversteps the bounds of section 230, and results in removal of section 230 protection, social media giants will be legally liable for defamatory or obscene material published by any of their millions of users.

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286 thoughts on “Win for Climate Skeptics: Trump’s EO Begins to Strip Section 230 Protection from Social Media Giants

  1. “Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet. As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.”

    Pretty extraordinary that an Executive Order of the President of the United States should set out as its basis that Twitter has been mean to me.

    • Providing examples of alleged bias as justification for an EO seems reasonable, even if one count of that alleged bias targeted the President.

      Nobody is trying to silence social media. Social media giants could easily start their own news services outside Section 230, and advertise those services on their social media platforms. I doubt they would get much interest from Conservatives and Climate Skeptics. What they have to do is stop editorialising while still trying to claim section 230 protection.

      • Eric,
        This executive order is aimed at silencing social media. Which ironically enough deprives them of their free speech rights. However much you might disagree with the actions of Twitter according to the US constitution it has the same rights regarding free speech as any human. Thus it can legitimately flag tweets from the President as being wrong.

        The executive order also seems self-contradictory. After all if Trump’s first claim is that people should be allowed to post deliberative falsehoods without being censored then he can’t then call for ” potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” since stopping deceptive acts means prohibiting free speech.

        • If you make a false accusation, you can be sued for the harm that false accusation causes to the target of your lie.

          My understanding is section 230 protects social media giants from being sued by a victim who sees false accusations posted on a social media website, on the grounds that it isn’t their content.

          But if they start editorialising, applying “fact check” labels and deleting posts they don’t like, they assume responsibility for any falsehoods on their website, they lose their section 230 protection.

          Nobody is silencing anyone, nobody is stopping social media giants from starting their own news service. What this EO says is they can’t claim to simply be carriers of other people’s content, yet at the same time extensively edit and annotate that content.

          • Eric,
            As the executive order notes companies are protected if when acting in “good faith” they
            restrict access to content that it considers to be “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.” The key phrases here are “otherwise objectionable” and “good faith” which gives the companies the right and even the obligation to “extensively edit and annotate”. So there is no chance that this executive order is legally binding and is just a piece of political theatre designed to threaten social media companies into letting Trump say whatever falsehoods he likes. Facebook has already caved it saying that politicians are free to lie on their social media sites and it won’t do anything.

          • Izaak Walton: I believe you are misreading the executive order. Platforms have to make a choice: Do not extensively monitor content, and retain their immunity; or continue to monitor content, and lose their immunity. It’s Twitter’s choice whether they want free speech or the special protections of immunity from civil liability; they just can’t have both. And the First Amendment doesn’t provide them both.

          • The 5/28/20 Executive Order stands on solid legal ground.

            Legislative intent controls the interpretation of any statute.

            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.” 47 U.S.C. 230(a)(3).

            The facts alleged, if true (and over 16,000 complaints are not likely to ALL be false), e.g.,

            Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias.

            are highly persuasive evidence that Twitter (and any “online platforms” which do the same) is in violation of the 47 U.S.C. 230.

          • “Legislative intent controls the interpretation of any statute.”
            But you are not quoting legislative intent. You are quoting Trump’s bluster.

            Volokh had this to say about intent:

            “Under current law, Twitter, Facebook, and the like are immune as platforms, regardless of whether they edit (including in a politicized way). Like it or not, but this was a deliberate decision by Congress. You might prefer an “if you restrict your users’ speech, you become liable for the speech you allow” model. Indeed, that was the model accepted by the court in Stratton Oakmont. But Congress rejected this model, and that rejection stands so long as § 230 remains in its current form. “

          • There is nothing that cannot be perverted, regardless of its expressed purpose. Any power surrendered to government is power to be used against you. Slavery is freedom, ideology is truth, silence is free speech when a well paid lawyer puts his mind to it.

          • You misread my comment, Mr. Stks.

            I cited the legislative intent quoted by President Trump.

            You, on the other hand, quote only “Volokh,” whose opinion has exactly –> zero persuasive weight.

          • Izaak that language comes from section 230, and the courts have previously ruled that the “otherwise objectionable” phrase means behaviors similar in scope to the already listed ““obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing” – IE it doesn’t mean someone said something we think is “false” so we have to flag it, fact check it, and editorialize it. It’s not as broad in meaning as you seem to think, per court preccident.

          • And Volokh’s opinion is respected… by whom?

            When has he shown real, significant courage to go against the leftist crowds?

        • Where do you conclude that this Silences Social Media? What words in the EO say that?
          IT TAKES IT BACK TO UNCENSORED SOCIAL MEDIA.

        • Where do you conclude that this Silences Social Media? What words in the EO say that?
          IT TAKES IT BACK TO UNCENSORED SOCIAL MEDIA.

        • “This executive order is aimed at silencing social media.”

          “Social media” should be silenced. What moral authority does “social media” have? Answer: None. Your “social media” are just a bunch of censoring leftists. They should be shut up. They have no business correcting anyone. Who are they to correct someone else? Why should we care what their opinions are? Why are their opinions more worthy than others? Answer: They are not more worthy. They should shut up and stop interfering in the conversations of others.

          • The First Amendment allows anyone to “correct” anyone. That’s free speech. What it doesn’t do is immunize anyone from civil liability for the content they publish. Online platforms now have to decide what they want more: do they want to control the content on their platforms, and thus potentially lose their legislated immunity from civil liability; or do they want to allow people to post whatever they want – do they want to promote free speech for users – and retain their immunity. It’s a genius solution.

          • Nick won’t ‘get it’ until the social media censors choose to ‘fact check’ him and find his comments unacceptable.

            “Then they came for me. And there was no one left. To speak out for me.”

          • Or, perhaps their terms of service should make their editorial bias explicit, in no small detail?

        • “This executive order is aimed at silencing social media.”

          How do you silence social media by preventing them from censoring people for their political opinions?

          SJWs really do project.

          The reality is that social media wants to be a publisher who censors people but then claim to be a platform when the people they censor try to sue them. They’ve exploited that distinction for far too long and it’s well past time they were smacked down.

          Not to mention fined for continual and persistent election interference and taxed on all that benefit in kind they’ve been providing to the Democrat party.

          • MarkG: Excellent point. Social media is already doing its own “silencing” and is getting to do it while continuously proclaiming their saintly behavior (with plenty of help from supporters, I might add.)

            In short, stop the silencing unless directed to do so by law and continue making billions with their business model or continue as they’ve been doing and spend a lot of money on lawyers, settlements, judgements and fines, all more than justified by their current behavior.

            And if they want no opposing ideas expressed, make that clear in bold letters in their terms of service so that their readers know the terms when they use their site.

          • Rod: That is exactly the goal of people like Nick and Izaak, they want the power to silence those they disagree with.

          • ‘That is exactly the goal of people like Nick and Izaak, they want the power to silence those they disagree with.’

            Exactly – Nick is one of the biggest phonies on the board – he’s not what he pretends to be – I’D call it hypocrisy – he postures that he’s practicing science, when he’s really more like a shyster lawyer, unerringly arguing any rationalization, any semantic to support his side. Utterly and rigidly. That’s not a search for truth – it’s using facts for spin.

            Kind of a standard MO for that ideological bent.

        • You said that there is no chance that this executive order is legally binding. Well, that’s why bills are being sponsored to repeal section 230. Lets see if your party sides with the American people or with some of the biggest monopolies on Earth. And please stop with the free speech drivel. You would probably be happy that Planet of the Humans has been editorially removed from YouTube while most other flagged videos aren’t. Warming hoaxsters everywhere were in glee.

          • Wow. You did defend it. Ironically, what they did to Planet of the Humans could bolster this executive order in court when it starts being applicable to declared platforms that are actually publishing and not subject to 230 liability immunity. Some of these “platforms“ are gonna be in big trouble if they continue editorializing like they did by removing Planet of the Humans.

        • Please explain how a ban on book burning constitutes book burning.

          Because that is the essence of what you claim this EO does.

          • I’m not a lawyer. See my comment about lawyers above — if it isn’t moderated out of existence.

        • The act of welcoming ALL customers and then booting some is not “speech”.

          Also, booting a user for violation of “the rules” is defamatory. It’s used to libel people. Even TT/FB/YT had enough with the ramblings of XYZ and then they are known to tolerate flat earthers and actual n@sis so XYZ is more crazier than flat earthers and evil (eviler?) than actual n@sis. The mass media use these evictions to libel those who have been silenced. And then protect TT/FB/YT from criticism.

        • And the rest of the troll brigade rolls into action.
          Nobody is being silenced.
          Nobody is being censored.

          Is it even possible for leftists to debate honestly?

          • No, today’s leftists are powerless over their own self-will. They have liberated themselves from all standards, laws, rules and regulations, and have abandoned logic altogether. Nothing remains to stand between them and insanity, not even their media lackeys, once the conscience of Liberalism.

          • Book burners express themselves by burning books. Because they have no other means to express themselves, banning book burning silences them.

          • …they really don’t want “debate”. That is their underlying motive. And now their cover is blown (Notice Nick and Izaak offer no further response!)

        • Izaak,

          I read the other day that kids spend 7 hours out of the day with their nose head down looking at their “smart”phones.

          Forget Trump haters for one minute. If my intent was the dissemination of propaganda then I would be upset with this EO.

          If, on the other hand, I want to defend free speech and social media, I must defend the propagandist right to lie but I cannot allow the propagandist to determine what is a lie and control which lies get through to those kids 7 hours out of every day and conversely, which get silenced.

        • Izaak, You say, ” according to the US constitution it has the same rights regarding free speech as any human.”

          First, the Constitution doesn’t say that. Second, “humans” aren’t given special protection via a federal statute, as Facebook, Twitter et al are.

          Please explain why businesses given special statutory protection under Section 230 should be allowed to use it to shield themselves from liability when private citizens and other businesses can not.

          Finally, please explain why Twitter et al have routinely, and with approval, published deceptive and false statements by Obama (“If you like your doctor…), but censor factual claims by Trump. (It is a matter of FACT that mail-in ballots have been lost, destroyed or tampered with in the past. Even Jerry Nadler has said so

      • I’ll bet Nick did not understand that, because, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.

        Credit for quotation to Upton Sinclair.

      • It seems to me that this is a continuation of the ongoing fight over net neutrality and whether telecommunications (and internet) companies can/should be common carriers.

        On another note, Michael Geist has chimed in. link That makes me worry that I’m missing something.

        • I just read the NP article. The author seems be of a mind that the objectionable behavior is editorial and if platforms lose Sec 230 protection, they will likely just delete. The order mentions that removal of content is one of problems that this order is meant to impact. The order also mentions demonitizing as an action which would strip a platform of their Sec 230 shield.

          The platforms have choice of either stopping objectionable activities (whether directly or by 3rd parties) or fight this in courts and continue with their objectionable behavior. If they stop acting as censors, it may stop the Congress from stripping 230 from the CDA. If they choose to fight this order, they will likely accelerate Congressional actions to delete 230.

        • Perhaps. But I don’t see greens making much headway in any of them, in the foreseeable future.

          • Don’t underestimate the number of very smart stupids in this country. Section 230 and Big Tech are big wedges that the GOP can shove between the Democrat Party and America. Big Tech is both extremely affluent and extremely liberal. Most of America isn’t. Lets see if Democrats side with America or Big Tech when section 230 comes up for a vote at the same time that their programs make coal miners, oilmen, farmers, and factory workers poorer or unemployed. Josh Hawley has honed in on this issue very well, which is why I think that he’ll be a future Presidential nominee.

        • “And there will be more elections.”

          Not if the democrats succeed in gaming the electoral system.

        • “And there will be more elections.”

          Not if the Radical Democrats take over. They will hold sham elections that keep themselves in power in perpetuity, like they tried to do with the 2016 presidential election.

          Had Hillary been elected, noone would have known about all the illegal activities that took place to get her elected, and if they had success in cheating, then there is no doubt they would continue that cheating to keep themselves in power for as long as they could get away with it.

          The Radical Democrats want to turn the United States into China. The Chinese Communists are their model for the future. The Radical Democrats like a government where there are a few elites (the Democrats) and the rest of the peons go along to get along. Democrats dream of that authoritarian rule. That’s their ideal and goal. IMO, of course. There, that will keep the censors at bay. Oh wait, there are no censors here, are there. Never mind.

    • N S–I read the original rather quickly, but don’t recall seeing any names in it except for the abusers.
      “In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints.”

      I was once told that the constitution was out of date because they didn’t have cell phones, etc., when they wrote it. I have it on first hand authority that censorship occurs. Problem solved, get rid of them technologies.

        • That is pretty extraordinary, isn’t it Nick.

          Trump expressed an opinion, which Twitter then fact checked, using opinions of others. Twitter is destroying their brand, at the very least.

          • Well, it’s pretty extraordinary for Trump to advance the order based on a whinge about his own treatment. But it is even more unusual to make a point of saying that he is the only politician that has been affected. EOs aren’t meant to be the vehicle for personal vendetta. As often, I wonder what you would be saying if Obama made orders in that style.

          • In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship. In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints.

            Whether or not any of those 16,000 are politicians is irrelevant. What the online platforms are doing is wrong and must be stopped.

            Their attacking Trump merely brought a powerful ally into the foray, one who will champion the rights of those 16,000.

            GO, TRUMP!

          • Nick, Obama did worse. He used the police power of the FBI and CIA to go after his opponents and used the IRS to target conservatives for audits. He was beyond corrupt, and that’s without even covering Joe Biden’s sweetheart millionaire deal for his own son. This policy just strips a company of its liability protection if they become unlike a basic computer service and more like an editorializing media company. Why should CNN and FOX be liable for defamatory statements on their platforms while Twitter and Facebook get by scot-free? 230 was designed to protect free speech, not to give special preference to certain media monopolies.

          • I have to agree with Nick that the inclusion of a Trump personal complaint does lower the basic dignity of the document.

          • Janice Moore May 28, 2020 at 9:00 pm

            GO, TRUMP!
            ———————-
            if only he would – the world would be a safer place

          • That is only your petty interpretation of the EO, Nick.

            Trump sees that the so called “social media” is drifting even further left and is now stifling reasonable discussion on very important issues thus having a major political influence

            They are no longer “social media”, they are leftist apologists, even going as far as to block criticism of the CCP !

            This is not Russia, or China, or North Korea yet, much as the far-left would like it to move that way.

            If you think this should continue, you mark yourself as being as much of a far-left totalitarian, as those in AntiFa, and the Stinkies and all the other people haters of the far-left.

          • I see that Nick doesn’t understand the usage of examples.
            Either that, or he actually believes that Trump is the only person that Twitter and others have been suppressing.

          • Yes, Gfront, once Trump is gone the world will be safer for would be tyrants such as yourself.

          • ‘Well, it’s pretty extraordinary for Trump to advance the order based on a whinge about his own treatment.’

            Well, it’s pretty extraordinary for a coordinated media/political movement within our own country to rat-f*ck the president.

            Twitter is not exactly isolated in this BTW.

            And your characterization of ‘whining’ is simply an interior reflection of your own inner workings and typical progressive spin. Progressives whine. Trump does not. He counter punches and the progressives whine again, that they got hurt while bullying.

          • ‘if only he would – the world would be a safer place’

            Half-runt apparently doesn’t remember Obama literally lighting the world on fire.

            All the International bullies (the progressive’s’ best friends) seem to be keeping their hands over their crotches.

            But a strong leader just doesn’t resonate with the appeasement mentality of cowards.

          • Nick, Obama had a win rate of only 45% in front of the Supreme Court–the worst record of any modern president!

            Add to that the current unmasking and declassification of thousands of documents and it is looking like the Obama administration will be the most criminal in US history!

            The Democrats never thought she would lose, hence their brazen and sloppy behavior!

          • “Far right” Marine Le Pen was “humiliated”, “ridiculous”, “pathetic” during the debate against Macron.

            Not much from her performance, but from the “fact checkers” who ALL said she was wrong about lots and lots of things; almost on anything.

            While I could check her claim re: unemployment in the 90ties (in direct live while watching the debate) and found it correct, somehow the fact checkers found opposite data. Well, let’s say OK.

            Then the fact checkers had a much bigger problem. Finance genius Macron did not seemed to know what the ECU was and what Marine was proposing re: the Franc (which were extremely simple ideas – MLP has only simple ideas).

            So the fact checkers found out that:
            – the ECU was never in currency
            – the ECU was not a real currency
            – the ECU was never used as a currency
            – the ECU was rarely used as one

            See? They clearly don’t know the answer (or know it and can’t tell it) as any 11 years old would see, but adults are bad at seeing what children see (esp. “educated” adults).

            Many adults could not determine that Macron was pathetic in the debate because nearly everybody in the mass media decided that Macron was the boss, the teacher, etc. When in fact Macron couldn’t seem to understand the simplest banking notions.

            The “éditorialistes” are assumed to push their personal analysis but the fact checkers are pretending to present raw facts; even if their research can’t be always perfect, they should never present spin.

            In practice most fact checkers are lazy, biased, mostly go to very partisan and biased sources, and when there is no such thing, minimize, make up half facts (ECU was a currency but rarely and then never used as one except in a few cases so not really a currency while it was actually one).

            Really, Macron was pathetic and real fact checking would have convinced the French people of that. But since nobody wanted to admit the fact the future president of France was humiliated by a know nothing (MLP is really really clueless about the economy and finance), fact checkers made up stuff and the people accepted it.

        • Extraordinary?
          What is extraordinary is an entity wanting to be the Minister of Truth and then having legal protections no one else does.

    • Mr Stokes, you really are a narrow-minded fool. Did you actually read the text of the EO?

      • Mr Stokes, you really are a narrow-minded fool.

        I disagree.

        I think that Nick us very broad-minded. He vigorously attacks miniscule and irrelevant points of any post whatsoever or argument that does not fit his political agenda. Admittedly he seems to happily ignore similar issues when they support his agenda.

        He also seems quite intelligent, although either very thick-skinned or completely self-unaware. It takes some thought and dedication to do what he does.

        I seem to recall that he was not always like this, but perhaps I misremember.

    • Ahh Nick the Lefty again shows his ignorance.

      Twitter has been censoring many many conservative voices and yet allows someone like Kathy Griffith tweet that “someone should jab Trump with an empty syringe”, and that is inciting murder and Twitter allows it. Sorry mate but your idea of “mean to me” idea is just shows your left wing bias and total hate of conservatives.

        • The retweet started out “Thank you Cowboys” and the ““The only good Democrat is a dead Democrat” quote was taken out of contect from the video attached to the tweet.

          • Considering how Democrats = the CCP and the Hudson Institute’s study of how China handled the Covid-19 debacle found that 95% of deaths from their bioweapon could have been prevented if they had just told the truth, I have to agree with President Trump on that one, Nick!

            The Democrats are accomplices!

            Do you really think things are going to get better now that China (and the Democrat party) realize their dreams of superpower status through the Globalist movement just fell into the Trump Toilet, never to be recovered?

            I’ve read where China had ~400,000 manufacturing facilities go out of business in the first quarter of 2020 and even worse, they have no future orders on their books! Owners are setting fire to those factories to get insurance because the CCP requires a certain return regardless!

            And that was even before the world started pulling their supply chains out of China due to the “plandemic”! Japan announced they are investing $220 billion to pull ALL of their manufacturing out of China and the vast majority of the other 200 countries doing business there are planning their withdrawl to one degree or another!

            China is screwed! The Democrats are screwed! Mobsters were instructed to burn everything down because the C-19 farce failed to destroy Trump’s economy; it will be back better than ever by election time!

            So is Trump’s language “over the top”? Only if you’re an apologist for the CCP and the Democrats!… They always hate the exposure!

            They’re REALLY going to hate what’s coming next!

        • As opposed to Obama telling his people to bring guns to a knife fight.

          Once again Nick demonstrates that like most liberals, he is only outraged by things that don’t benefit him.

        • Nick is right on this one. Twitter should be free to do what it wants with moderating the contents of tweets. Just as Anthony should be free to do the same with comments here

    • Its really funny watching you trying to DENY that Twitter Faecbook etc are not bastions of deep leftist agenda trying to stifle center-and right wing voices.

      It must really hurt you to see then getting told that if they are true “social” site, then that should net be doing that.

      Being forced to allow true free speech and allow proper debate, will ruin the leftist agendas, because everyone will now know they have nothing to stand on.

    • Nick
      ..as its basis that Twitter has been mean to me….
      Such reactions are normal from children and insecure adults; emotional not rational.
      From an adult perspective the harm is the dishonesty not the hurt feelings.
      Time to grow up !
      Cheers
      Mike

      • @Mike Macray

        Here’s a quote that fits very well:

        “Great minds discuss ideas;

        average minds discuss events;

        small minds discuss people.”
        Eleanor Roosevelt

        Folks on the left suffer both from Cognitive Dissonance and the Dunning–Kruger effect. Hard to unhack a brain that has wallow for so long in it’s own echo chamber.

    • Twitter has targeted a lot more people than just the President. By cherry-picking your examples to imply that it was just the President, you rather show your bias.

        • No, Nick. It’s not his EO; it’s ours. And it’s about time.

          Ask yourself why you disagree with it. After all, it’s merely an attempt to return to a level playing field politically, both in a national and an international sense. Do you prefer the unlevel field we’ve been playing on for the past few years? Why is that, exactly?

          • @Rodney

            I think NS is in Australia.

            So, he has no dog in this fight. This is an American company, perhaps industry would be correct, being a bad American to other Americans and being call to account by an American President.

            How would NS act if you changed the industry, say the Oil & Gas industry, in which this American President complaining about.

    • Has there ever been an instance where Nick managed to accurately portray the arguments of those he disagrees with?

  2. The Left only discovered the concept of facts recently. Their abuse of it is only to be expected. Let’s give them time to come to grips with how it works.

    • The left-wing special and peculiar interests grew complacent speaking truth to facts and expecting people to kneel before their preachers and proclamations.

    • Let’s give them the boot that these biased censors have so richly earned. They can come to grips with the errors of their ways after the fact.

    • “So the maples formed a union
      And demanded equal rights
      ‘The oaks are just too greedy
      We will make them give us light’
      Now there’s no more oak oppression
      For they passed a noble law
      And the trees are all kept equal
      By hatchet
      Axe
      And saw”

      https://www.rush.com/songs/the-trees/

  3. I’m confused. I thought section 230C was about protecting service providers from illegal material transferred through their network or on their servers. Remove this protection and they then have to check all content themselves. They must then remove content that they believe could lead to their prosecution.

    How is this going to enable publishing of controversial material.

    As far as I can see it will lead to greater use of fact checkers and lawyers limiting free speech even more to prevent losses by legal action for “wrong” content.

    • They could certainly try, but I don’t think they have the resources, and if social media becomes even more restrictive they’re going to start shedding users. If they try to operate outside section 230, even one failure would be a big payday for the injured party.

    • The intent of this EO was to bring the rule back to the Plain Text as Written. “the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.” If they do NOT remove, delete, modify, edit, blacklist, etc. and comply with the Plain Text as written they have nothing to fear.

      Keep in mind $230 was written in the day of the BBS, UseNet and CompuServe.

    • The way I read it, if platforms do not engage in gate-keeping at all, then they retain their immunity. It is only the platforms that gate-keep in a way contrary to the purpose of the immunity that become liable. The consequence should be that platforms stop “editorializing” completely, and thus retain their immunity. You can’t have it both ways: you can’t claim to be an authoritative gate-keeper of content, and also claim that you can’t be held liable for the content on your platform.

      • That is going to make it difficult for the likes of a blog. If you “gatekeep” (i.e. moderate) the comments then you become liable for all those comments that appear – you ave implicitly approved their content.

        • If your “moderation” takes the form of censorship based on personal bias then you *should* become liable for all comments that appear. You are no longer a blog but a publisher and therefore lose immunity under Section 230.

          • Tim Gorman May 29, 2020 at 5:17 am
            If your “moderation” takes the form of censorship based on personal bias then you *should* become liable for all comments that appear. You are no longer a blog but a publisher and therefore lose immunity under Section 230.
            —————
            personal bias = warmist/contrarian=bias=this blog and others

          • ghalfwit, this blog lets everyone from either side post as evidenced by the fact that your posts appear without problem (how many alramist blogs can you say the same for? hint, you won’t have to take off your shoe when counting).

        • As I see it, moderation should be according to terms of service, clearly expressed. If, for example, comments that include acknowledged swear words won’t be tolerated, put that in the terms of service. Encouraging violence, making personal threats, posting lewd pictures, are other examples.

          As for blocking users from commenting, provide readers an obvious way to block them themselves and leave it to readers to decide how much aggravation to put up with.

          Granted, though, this will be a difficult issue to resolve.

          It would be interesting to hear the views of this from those who have been doing the actual moderating.

    • The language seems to indicate, as I read it, that their is a choice:
      stop censoring
      or
      lose the special protection.

  4. This is an Obama-style executive abuse, meant not to “clarify” but to circumvent the will and intent of the legislative branch for partisan reasons. Section 230 wasn’t passed to regulate fairness or neutrality of political speech on platforms — a nebulous and unenforceable demand, even if it had been — but to allow websites to deal with online indecency. This Section 230 executive order circumvents the legislative branch and encourages the chilling of speech.

    • Not at all. Social media giant are free to offer a separate news service, or they are free to continue to operate as neutral platforms for content created by others.

      What they can’t do is both be editors and claim section 230 protection. The act of editorialising creates responsibility for content being editorialised.

      • Eric,
        Social media sites are not neutral nor are they allowed to be. Try publishing recipes for making bombs along with material calling for a Jihad against the USA and see how far you get. And I doubt that Trump will be demanding that facebook or twitter allows that.

        • I’m sure there are going to be lots of fascinating conversations about interpretation of this EO.

        • re: ” Try publishing recipes for making bombs along with material calling for a Jihad against the USA”

          This was addressed in the opening post (see below); were you just so eager to make a stupid reply that you skipped reading and comprehending the FULL meaning of the EO? Also anything ILLEGAL (defined in numerous US Codes/laws, such as planning with others a bank robbery or insurrection) can still be banned. In simple words, you still can’t shout “Fire” in a crowded theater.

          .
          .
          .
          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.”

        • Izaak,
          You’ve gone way off the rails. You sound like one of those people who links 2nd Amendment rights to things like tanks, surface-to-air-missiles, and nuclear warheads.

          • Michael,
            But you are right. 2nd amendment rights only make sense if you allow people the rights to things like “tanks, surface-to-air-missiles and nuclear warheads”. The point of the second amendment as far as I understand it is that citizens should be able to defend themselves against the government and also enemies of the USA. The ending of the Waco seige showed conclusively that the government is perpared to use tanks against civilans and so logically according to the second amendment citizens need equally “well armed”. Obama also used drones to kill US citzens without a trial violating their constitutional rights and the only way to protect yourself from this is a surface to air missile.

          • You sound like one of those people who links 2nd Amendment rights to things like tanks, surface-to-air-missiles, and nuclear warheads.

            I always thought it allowed you to wear t-shirts

        • The issue we are discussing, the May 28, 2020 Exec. Order, is not about restricting the content of “social media sites.” Your statement of the obvious, the fact that the speech allowed on online platforms is not neutral, says nothing useful about the EO.

          There are, as Blank Jim ably pointed out, already laws that prevent illegal speech online, e.g.,

          As used in this chapter—

          (1)the term “international terrorism” means activities that—

          (A)involve violent acts or acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State … .

          18 U.S. Code § 2331 (1) (A)

          Example of a criminal law for the purposes of Sec. (1)(A) above:

          Seditious Conspiracy

          If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof … .

          18 U.S. Code § 2384. (June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 808; July 24, 1956, ch. 678, § 1, 70 Stat. 623; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(N), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2148.)

      • What they can’t do is both be editors and claim section 230 protection. The act of editorialising creates responsibility for content being editorialised.

        Bam!

        The telephone company has no responsibility for what you say on your telephone.

        The companies that make paper have no responsibility for what people print on their paper.

        No sane company wants to take on responsibility for how its product is used. The social media companies do not want the responsibility, in the sense that they might be held liable, but they seem to want the right to censor opinions or search results they disapprove of. They can’t have it both ways.

        With regard to China. The former head of Canada’s spy agency has compared dealing with China to dealing with the Warsaw Pact during the cold war. link I fear that he’s right and that makes my blood run cold.

        And somehow we have to find a way to keep talking on those areas where there’s a mutual interest. We did this with the Warsaw Pact during the Cold War, although it was very difficult. And I think it’s possible to do it now. It’s going to require patience. And I think it’s going to require an acceptance on the part of Canada and in particular Canadian business. And I say this with some reluctance that China is not going to be the market that we all thought it was going to be a few years ago. We’re going to have to work on diversification and we’re going to have to accept that even if we can sell to China, the circumstances that obtain there make it very, very difficult.

        President Trump is absolutely correct. Under no circumstances do we want to be dependent on China for anything. China is endeavoring to be completely self-reliant so no other nation can exert any influence on it. For us to be free trade Boy Scouts is just allowing China to create a completely asymmetric power dynamic. Until, and unless, China changes its bully boy behavior, we should treat it the same way we treated the USSR.

        • “commieBob May 28, 2020 at 7:58 pm

          No sane company wants to take on responsibility for how its product is used.”

          No, but then they are forced to do so via the legal system, ie, drying your dog in a microwave because you used to use a conventional over. Or spilling a hot drink all over yourself.

        • Exactly, it’s time to move away from China and do business with their neighbor next door. India is a parliamentary democracy, it’s citizens have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of the press, etc. They can criticize their government without fear of being rounded up and disappeared. It’s time to move on from China.

          • Klem,
            Try telling that to Indian muslims living in Kashmir. India is better than China but it also has its dark side and under Mohdi it is getting worse.

        • “And I think it’s going to require an acceptance on the part of Canada and in particular Canadian business. And I say this with some reluctance that China is not going to be the market that we all thought it was going to be a few years ago.”

          The Chinese communist leadership is going to pay for attacking the world with the Wuhan virus. Lots of nations are going to be reassessing their relationship with China.

          China’s arrogant leaders apparently think they can’t be touched. We shall see.

    • Mods. Please delete or Eck’s post, so he can come to understand what this is really about.

      • Thomas, up yours. It doesn’t matter what you think this is about. The fact is, he’s no authority to do this. I hope the courts strike this down, even if I agree with the sentiment. Oh, and let’s ask to delete your post because you’re an obvious dimwit, eh?

        • “The fact is, he’s no authority to do this. I hope the courts strike this down”

          So you don’t actually know whether Trump is on solid legal ground or not, do you.

          If I was a betting man, I would bet on Trump.

    • “This is an Obama-style executive abuse, meant not to “clarify” but to circumvent the will and intent of the legislative branch for partisan reasons.”

      Wow. The left really must be scared for them to start pushing these silly talking points all over the Internet.

      Clearly forcing Big Social to admit they’re publishers is going to hit them hard.

      And about time, too.

    • The level of abuse and censorship by Big Social reached the level of indecency long ago.

      And also, election interference on a scale Putin could only dream off.

      • “And also, election interference on a scale Putin could only dream off.”

        And past actions have just been warm-ups for the next election. Without this EO, the in-kind donations to one party by the tech oligarchs would reach the tens of billions of dollar worth. Even with it, the amounts will be massive.

        • They might benefit from Citizens United, that “horrible” deregulation decision that only marginally restored some speech rights. (*)

          But maybe not: if Big Social has significant interests in other countries, so significant that they bend over (breaking even on their most essential promises) to suit them, you could argue they act as foreign agents; or are foreign agents, even if they are all incorporated in Calif.

          And then there is FARA! Flynn writing an opinion piece about an Islamic leader can be considered a FARA violation, so the massive gift by Big Social to Chinese propaganda (via WHO propaganda) might be a FARA thing.

          (Also, how does the UN play with FARA? Is the New York-based UN “foreign”?)

          I don’t like the FEC, the FCC, FARA, the prohibition of “obstruction of justice” (**), the Logan Act, the Hatch Act… these are either inherently BS or prone to BS accusations/regs/reg implementation.

          But now the gloves are off.

          (*) Free speech being a God given right, it doesn’t make sense to restrict it in any way to US citizens. America is not the Chosen Country and God gave speech rights to every Man. Russians had the same free speech rights during US election seasons (#), an idea alien to Mueller (assuming he had any influence on the “Mueller probe”).

          (**) What the hell is obstruction? whatever a discredited and humiliated prosecutor won’t like after a lost badly on the primary accusation?

          (#) We see again and again the idea that free speech rights are a function of the election calendar, a fundamentally European idea. Dems and Muellers want to copy Europe.

        • “the in-kind donations to one party by the tech oligarchs”

          And don’t forget that a judge rubber stamped(*) the “excessive campaign contribution”/”unlawful corporate contribution” made up BS “felonies” that Cohen “admitted” – all for not being *totally transparent* about *hush payments*.

          (*) I understand that judges are referees not players, and are not supposed to intervene when there is agreement on the merit between the parties; here the issue is about laws, not facts.

  5. “In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship.”

    Link, please? I am being censored by YouTube

  6. Tie to upgrade from masks to full face protection with all those exploding heads.

      • Goggles like the ones in Snoopy vs The Red Baron ? *smile* Those were primarily to protect pilots against the castor oil mist spewed by the infamous Gnome-Rhone alike single valve rotary engines…

        So yes, they’ll do the job ! However in some organizations one might also consider a dry-suit.

    • Ha! Flight Level gets it. Pilots and engineers tend not to be liberals because these are not vocations where lying to yourself promotes survival. The liars are quickly weeded out.

      • Thanks Thomas,
        We probably learn at a very early stage that no lawmaker can alter the laws of physics and no lawyer can circumvent them. Which is what liberals can’t figure-out but keep trying

  7. “Sec. 7. Definition. For purposes of this order, the term “online platform” means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.”

    Sounds like that might include WUWT.

    • If you are aware of defamatory or obscene material on WUWT please report it to the moderators.

      • As you have emphasised
        ” In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints. The White House will submit such complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).”

        Do you really want to have the WH supervising your political neutrality? What if a Democrat is President?

        • I don’t speak on behalf of WUWT’s legal positioning w/r to WUWT content Nick, so I hope you understand I’m not going to have this conversation.

          • What is the matter Eric, afraid to discuss with Nick the legal ramifications of your absurd position?

          • The issue presented here is the president’s May 28, 2020 Executive Order.

            The EO is about:

            online platforms large, powerful social media companies passive bulletin boards

            … [which function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

            — Applied to WUWT —

            WUWT is not an online platform.

            Conclusion: this EO does not apply to WUWT.

            There are already laws in place re: internet defamation, libel, etc.. These are NOT the issue we are discussing on this thread.

          • Henry Pool wrote: “What is the matter Eric, afraid to discuss with Nick the legal ramifications of your absurd position?”

            This gets to the heart of the matter: Social media are censoring politically incorrect speech — speech that is mainstream in the eyes of all but committed leftists/statists. But who adjudicates this censorship? In the absence of a truly neutral ombudsman in each social media company, it must be the federal government. But once a committed leftist like Obama gets back into the White House, we will be back in the same ballpark. But at least voters can vote such a leftist out of office. Imperfect? To be sure. But at least it is beholden to the voters at some level. Up to now, leftist social media (and mainstream media) behemoths, have been given free rein. This change tries to break that grotesque censorship of political speech.

          • Janice:

            Conclusion: this EO does not apply to WUWT.

            On the contrary, the EO indeed applies to WUWT:

            “Sec. 7. Definition. For purposes of this order, the term ‘online platform’ means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.”

        • Nick, It’s the Justice Department who will be taking action. And, yes, I (we) would want want them to protect the freedom of speech Democrats.

          • Yes its good to let Democrats speech….

            …. leave absolutely no doubt about their idiocy.

            Like listening to the Greens leaders in Australia,

            …. right Nick 😉

        • Well, Nick, it’s pretty easy. The purpose of the 1st Amendment is to prevent the GOVERNMENT from restricting or otherwise censoring content that is political speech, or other forms of expression that are protected speech under the 1st Amendment. So your argument is a straw man.

          I’m inclined to believe that Trump’s EO was a long time in coming, and that your own personal petulance dictated an accusation that the only reason Trump issued his EO was to whine about the way he was treated by Twitter. Maybe you should be banned from this site, you would see more clearly the implications of what has been happening, not only to Trump, but to others.

          As Commie Bob said, these guys at Twitter can’t have it both ways. I agree with that sentiment, and advise you to chill.

          P.S. Am I correct in understanding that you are from England, Nick? If so, your time is better spent not worrying about the niceties of the 1st Amendment and worrying more about how the UK government has conducted itself during the coronavirus shutdown.

          • ” The purpose of the 1st Amendment is to prevent the GOVERNMENT from restricting or otherwise censoring content that is political speech, or other forms of expression that are protected speech under the 1st Amendment. So your argument is a straw man.”

            And Twitter is not the Government either.

            I am not from UK.

        • For some reason Nick seems to feel that there is no difference between a political opinion he disagrees with and “defamotory or obscene” material.

          • Most leftist have that same problem. When a conservative disagree with someones point of view, it’s because they believe that person is wrong. When a leftist disagrees with someones point of view, it’s because they believe that person is evil.

        • Nick Stokes
          May 28, 2020 at 7:12 pm

          Nick you do not get it do you!

          Yes WUWT is subject as same as the rest.

          But as long as it is not into the venture or task of Policing the information in consideration of “misinformation or disinformation”…
          for as long as Anthony does not block content in consideration of;
          “saving the world” by policing the information in his site, than WUWT enjoys the “immunity” from liability of propagating disturbing or/and terrifying misinformation/disinformation content.

          Nick it is simple, the EO is not an opinion piece, it is a legal clarification in matters of legislation and constitution of the land.

          Whom ever, puts down the “neutral hat” and goes for the “police one” in consideration of information in it’s platform, bounds it’s self to the consequence of following liabilities… under the law and constitution of the land.
          Not only under the clause in consideration of the unnecessary damages caused by excessive and unacceptable exercised force,
          but also in the clause of damages and harm to the masses due to failure of proper application of one’s self invested power.
          (aka having a considerable amount of very mind disturbing and terrifying fake/false information content propagating freely and unchallenged in the platform)

          When a platform clearly moves from the consideration of neutrality to a position of Policing, aka moving for the power of the “sword”, then by default such platform is subject to the rule of the “sword’s” consequences.
          With power comes responsibility and therefor liability and consequences, especially in consideration of gross negligence… either when given or self invested.

          In consideration of WUWT of Anthony Watts, the main success clearly stands in the indisputability of neutrality of the site towards the content information, in consideration of any participant and all here.
          In my understanding it is technically a very civilized free speech site.
          Properly neutral in consideration of it’s stand towards and as far as the content flowing through this site is concerned,
          very tolerant even to Trolling and clear provocative information.

          The backwardness in the consideration of the EO as an opinion rather than what actually it is, a legal affirmative clarification,
          stands as an intent in misinforming or at least confusing and jeopardizing the meaning and the value of it.

          Yes each and every one of us here is still entitled to our own opinions, information content in the whole of the range,
          and to our facts, either in fake or falsity or otherwise.
          In this site we still own our value, whatever that is or it could be, with no discrimination and no censorship.
          The limits are very clear, few and standard, applying equally to all.

          A very good example how a conversation and information exchange should be in a civilized society.

          cheers

      • Eric,
        Do you read the comments on this site? People defame climate scientists with depressing regularity.
        How many comments are there that refer disparagingly to the appearance of female activist politicians or scientists?

        • Like I said, if you are aware of anything defamatory or obscene, please report it.

          • Eric,
            Look at the comment made by Scissor directly below yours for a prime example of a sexist and defamatory comment.

          • Eric Worrall May 28, 2020 at 7:23 pm
            Like I said, if you are aware of anything defamatory or obscene, please report it.
            —————
            I have reported stupid infantile remarks about Oreskes appearance and only one occasion were posts removed. Thunbergs appearance and mental health has been disparaged so many times it’s not possible to report them all .
            There have been death wishes and obnoxious posts about the Caitlin arctic expeditions:
            Vlad the Inhaler death wish was removed. Vlad the Inhaler July 30, 2019 at 2:32 am
            but
            [still there]
            https://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/26/admiration-for-the-catlin-explorers/#comment-95597
            Rachelle Young says:
            March 26, 2009 at 8:52 pm
            I would be content to see all three of them freeze to death or be eaten by ‘endangered’ polar bears
            Thunberg –
            chaswarnertoo July 30, 2019 at 3:13 am
            Pray for hurricanes, or an iceberg…..
            ozspeaksup July 30, 2019 at 4:17 am
            provide the chum the sharks will come;-)
            one can hope
            Patrick MJD July 30, 2019 at 5:12 am
            Someone with serious mental and associated health issues embarking on a two week voyage in a special purpose built racing yacht to cross the Atlantic? …
            [still there]

            WUWT is moderated and therefore will not be protected by section 230c
            (it will be interesting to see how this site changes – or not)

          • Death wishes are not the same thing as death threats. I thought even a liberal should be able to understand that distinction.

        • Defamation requires damages and nothing causes them more damage than when those people you mention look into a mirror.

        • Ok Izaak, I look forward to you demonstrating a pattern of WUWT suppression of posts where people praise climate scientists and refer positively to the appearance of female activist politicians or scientists while allowing people to defame climate scientists and refer disparagingly to the appearance of certain women.

        • “Do you read the comments on this site? People defame climate scientists with depressing regularity.”

          That may be true in some cases, but those defamed climate scientists have the option of coming to WUWT and rebuting any things said about them. Trump doesn’t care about people expressing their opinions, such as debating the characters of certain climate scientists or anyone else. But, if WUWT were to censor the aggrieved scientist and prevent him from defending himself, then Trump would care about that.

          But, since WUWT does not do censorship, WUWT has nothing to worry about from Trump or any other president under the new Executive Order.

          • Tom,
            WUWT does do censorship. Only it is called moderation. And in general as far as I can see it is done well and most people accept it since it makes the site readable and entertaining.

            And Trump clearly does care about people expressing their opinions since the moment Twitter suggested one of his tweets was factually wrong he reacted by trying to completely change the basic law underlying the freedom of the internet.

          • “… freedom of the internet …”.
            A nice Orwellian ‘blackwhite’ Newspeak term that.
            “Freedom of the internet” = freedom to censor the internet.

          • “Tom,
            WUWT does do censorship. Only it is called moderation. And in general as far as I can see it is done well and most people accept it since it makes the site readable and entertaining.”

            I’ll go along with that, Izaak.

        • Izaak, you really seem to be going the distance to be obtuse.
          All the big social media platforms are censoring every day, they are trying to portray the unproven hypothesis of man made global warming due to CO2 as having come down from the mountain on tablets with Moses.
          It is why lots of democrats and ecofascist groups are trying to criminalize dissent on “settled science”!

          Tell me how you feel about that?

          • Pat,
            I am not sure what your question is. All social media companies engage in censorship. It is why you can’t easily find videos of ISIS beheading innocent people for instance. Such videos exist and are 100% factual but I am extremely happy that I never come across them. And I am fairly sure you would agree that such videos should be censored even though that violates people’s free speech rights. Things become more fuzzy when discussing issues like the spread of anti-vaccination videos. These are full of factual errors (whether deliberate or not) and result in the death of innocent people. Would you allow such videos and anti-vac websites to be published without comment or warning? Other theories like the flat earth conspiracy theories are essentially harmless and so it is a waste of time trying to censor them. So the question would be where does global warming fall in that continuum?

          • Izaak asked
            “So the question would be where does global warming fall in that continuum?”

            While the term global warming itself can be, and is, interpreted in various and quite different ways, I would say that the portrayal is quite often something that, unlike any warming itself, causes great harm to much of the world’s people.

          • He sure is doing a lot of whining about social media monopolies losing protection from liability that no other publishing company gets when social media monopolies stop being strictly social media and start publishing. It suggests to me that section 230 does need to actually be scrapped so that these social media monopolies aren’t restricted from enjoying all of the rights and privileges that publishers get. They have a choice: platform or publisher. Just pick one. Thank goodness for the new working class Republican era and the likes of Donald Trump and Josh Hawley. I’d much rather a coal miner be in my party than a coder.

        • “Do you read the comments on this site? People defame climate scientists with depressing regularity.
          How many comments are there that refer disparagingly to the appearance of female activist politicians or scientists?”

          Did you not “defamed” Trump, called him names?
          You changing subject because you defend special rules for “special” media.
          If the mail company claims to open your mail to check what bad is there then they have responsibility for it to be sent and doing nothing.

        • As some legal scholar stated, Truth is an absolute defense against a defamation charge.

      • I’m not saying WUWT is bad but some comments of mine never show up and I have no idea why. Maybe there is an intelligence test filter. Anyway, WUWT, and some other blogs I read, immediately came to mind when I started reading the EO.

    • “…Sounds like that might include WUWT…”

      Only under the loosest definitions of content creation and sharing and by completely distorting the intent of this executive action would WUWT be included.

      That being the case…there is no “gotcha” if WUWT were included. So who cares.

      • Only under the loosest definitions of content creation and sharing and by completely distorting the intent of this executive action would WUWT be included.

        Err, no:

        “Sec. 7. Definition. For purposes of this order, the term ‘online platform’ means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.”

    • Nick: As long as WUWT moderates their content fairly, they retain their immunity. Only abusive moderating, especially based on political bias, leads to the loss of immunity.

  8. This is late in coming but is something that is needed to limit the tyrants at Facebook, Twitter and Google.

    • Dennis. Or is it near perfect timing? Enough before the election to get traction, not too far before to get lost in the news cycle.

  9. Dear Mr. Worrall, you post ” free speech is guaranteed by the US Constitution”
    ..
    That is true, but the First Amendment does not apply to a private enterprise. You obviously are ignorant of US Constitutional law.

      • LOL @ Worrall…..look at the first word of the 1st Amendment. It does not say “the President”, it does not say “WaPo,” it does not say “Twitter.”

        The very first word of the 1st Amendment tells you who it applies to. (Congress)

        Cry all you want.

      • … applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology. … these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.

        Read it and weep, Pool.

    • Didn’t “Citizens United” rule that corporations are people? Doesn’t that effectively make “private enterprise” equal to an individual? So if they get the rights of individuals they also get the responsibility of individuals.

      I’m not an American and I don’t understand the CU ruling much but it seems weak at best to equate the 2. As an old joke goes “I’ll know corporations are people when I see Texas execute one”.

      • It’s a big subject but there is definitely a difference between the “person” of a corporation and an individual human, both is fact and in law. A corporate person does have many rights, especially legally created rights such as limited liability for its owners, but not all the rights, or liabilities, of an individual. However, natural individuals are, in today’s world, often put into the position of a corporate person via all the contracts in which they are entangled.

        • There is absolutely no difference under the law, according to multiple rulings at all court levels, between persons and corporations.

          It will be interesting how the activist judges start re-assessing these legal precedents.

          • If you look back far enough, before the common law was submerged beneath Admiralty, you will find the courts being quite explicit that individuals give up their common law rights when they enter into contracts. Now, by design, it is almost impossible for an individual to operate outside Admiralty law. Under Admiralty, individuals cease to exist as such and become persons.

    • re: “That is true, but the First Amendment does not apply to a private enterprise. You obviously are ignorant of US Constitutional law.”

      Deprecated, 3rd rate (or grade) argument; you are obviously deficient in your knowledge of case law in the last few years in this area.

  10. And about freekin time….this is the kind of action I like to see from a leader. In Australia we have the occasional leader, one such was Geoff Kennett who was the Melbourne State Premier. The leftist vermin hated him naturally and sought to disrupt everything he wanted to do in a similar way to the way American leftist vermin obstruct Trump.
    On the occasion of an Australian GP in Melbourne the bus drivers went on strike without warning throwing the event into chaos, immediately after the event Kennett announced he was privatizing the busses and that was that….how I laughed. Not as hard as the occasion of the 2016 US elections when I couldn’t stop laughing for weeks, but I had a smile on my dial for quite a while.

  11. Worrall, if Jack Dorsey bans Trump from Twitter, what recourse does Trump have? Trump cannot “shut down” Twitter.

    • That will be very interesting if it happens. Lets hope Twitter etc. pull back from their alleged bias and mistreatment of some groups.

      • Worrall, since all you can do is “cry,” why don’t you wipe your tears, and tell all of us here what authority Trump will use to shut down Twitter.

        • Trump doesn’t have to shut down anyone. If Twitter misbehaves, and is stripped of Section 230 protection, they will likely die a death of a thousand lawsuits at the hands of ordinary people.

          • ” If Twitter misbehaves, and is stripped of Section 230 protection”
            Sec 230 protection is legislation by congress, as interpreted by courts. Trump cannot “strip” anyone of it.

          • “If Twitter misbehaves, and is stripped of Section 230 protection, they will likely die a death of a thousand lawsuits at the hands of ordinary people.”

            Yes, that’s right. Conservative lawyers should make their services available free to any conservative who has been wronged by Twitter. Let the lawsuits begin!

        • Trump can shut down Twitter any time he wants to Henry, what planet do you live on?

          • Like most leftists, Pool wants government to have the power to shut down anyone who disagrees with them.
            Therefor it’s natural for him to assume that Trump already has such powers.

          • I don’t think Henry is an adult, regardless of what year he may have been born in.

          • Isn’t it a funny old world where people here are supporting big government stifling a private company because they don’t like the fact the company put a note on a tweet that was misleading. I thought the US of A was the one country that would not allow the governmental tyrants to control their private businesses? Wow we have turned full circle here.

          • No one is asking for Government to stifle Twitter. Twitter’s free to be a publisher (and continue to stifle the content of their used) and be liable for all the content that they choose to allow on their system, or they are free to be a platform (in which case they have to stop stifling the content of their users) entitled to the protection from liability that being a platform gives them. They can’t be both. It’s one or the other.

        • Nobody has tried to shut down Twitter, or any other social media company.
          What is it about liberals and their inability to argue honestly?

      • Trump will not have to “shut down” any of the online platforms. They will comply with the laws already passed and the regulations to be passed — or they will pay enormous fines. They will stop their censorship to avoid financial ruin.

        Twitter, et al. will be reined in by:

        The Federal Communications Commission

        … shall file a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations …

        The Federal Trade Commission

        (d) For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of this order.

        Also, the several 50 states can wield power over the free speech thugs.

        • Me thinks the governments of a majority of the states would like to see much more censorship.

          • “Me thinks the governments of a majority of the states would like to see much more censorship.”

            Really? What evidence is there for that?

    • “The fact is, he’s no authority to do this. I hope the courts strike this down”

      What Trump should do now is go talk to some of his big-pocket conservative friends and have one of them establish the Conservative Twitter.

      Then Trump can move his 180,000,000 followers to Conservative Twitter, and jack can go fish.

      Trump should do this now, and not wait for jack to ban him from Twitter.

      Losing 180,000,000 customers might cause jack to sit up and take notice.

    • If Dorsey bans Trump from Twitter, that would prove that Trump is correct in these actions.

  12. Reads like troll and trollop night.

    The President goes to great lengths to state the law/regulations and original intent, yet so many commenters apparently jumped into the thread commenting on their assigned opinions, rather than the President’s Order.

    Makes one wonder if the many comment sections also fall under the changes to 230. Putting false and fallacious commenters on notice.

    • “Putting false and fallacious commenters on notice.”
      That is backward. Commenters were always liable for their comments. Sec 230, which Trump wants to wish away, relieved the site owners (eg WUWT) of liability for what the commenters said.

      • He does not want to wish it away. The effect of the EO will be as follows.

        If you moderate ONLY to exclude content which is manifestly obscene…etc, as specified in the Act, then you are covered and not liable.

        If you want to moderate on other grounds, for instance truthfulness or whatever, then you lose #230 protections.

        But only if you moderate on other grounds. Its moderating on grounds other than those allowed for in the Act which makes you into a publisher.

        WUWT for instance is not a publisher, because it only moderates on the grounds allowed for in the Act. Does it moderate? Yes. But not on any other grounds than those in the Act, so its not liable.

        Fact checking, so called, is a very risky activity. It amounts to moderating on truth, and that is not an allowed category in the Act.

        • “The effect of the EO will be as follows.”
          It will have no effect. Trump cannot change the wording of Sec 230, and he cannot order judges to interpret it differently.

          Professor Volokh had this to say on what Sec 230 says:

          “Under current law, Twitter, Facebook, and the like are immune as platforms, regardless of whether they edit (including in a politicized way). Like it or not, but this was a deliberate decision by Congress. You might prefer an “if you restrict your users’ speech, you become liable for the speech you allow” model. Indeed, that was the model accepted by the court in Stratton Oakmont. But Congress rejected this model, and that rejection stands so long as § 230 remains in its current form. “

    • “Putting false and fallacious commenters on notice.”

      Free Speech allows for false and fallacious commenters. The remedy for false and fallcious speech is more speech which gives the other side of the story.

      What should not be done is to censor someone’s speech just because someone else thinks it is false or fallacious, or for any other reason. Free Speech should not be censored over personal opinions.

  13. Nick Stokes is upset.
    And why wouldn’t he be . . .
    With an ever increasing number of setbacks for George, Bill, Mark etc. the left is having a hard time of it.
    They believed they’d win but along came reality (ordinary people).

    • The Guardian is also upset – an excellent sign that Trump is hitting the Left where it hurts.

  14. He is obvious in what he does and the dumb bastards bite every time.

    For the last 3 weeks he has been goading Twatter to censor him with his tweets about morning joe s.
    Yet they choose to fake fact check him on a voting issue because that is the most important issue to them, he quite simply has to go in their eyes as they are all part of the deep state globalist machine.

    Break them up mr president break them into crumbs and open up the internet to fair competition again.

    Could have happened to nicer people imo, thought they could feck the leader of the free world over and win, because the arrogance and bullshipt of progressives knows no bounds.

    Take dorseys head and shove it so far up his ass he can see his heart-beating.
    The legacy globalist permanent state media megaphones lost their power they set out to destroy social media outlets to stay in control, so the social media giants morphed with them and helped them dominate their platforms, they truly believe they are more powerful than any country or any man, wakey wakey incoming.

    The permanent state is rapidly becoming temporary, we live in interesting times all because of one man.

    Vote Trump 2020.

    • Yes, it is interesting what ferry decided to censor. Frankly, I can’t see how it could be arguable that postal ballots are not more prone to fra ud than in-person ballots, unless you are prepared to admit far the in-person ballots are riddled with fra ud already.

      Quite why a country as advanced as the USA does not already check and validate ID like most other developed countries is beyond me. Even India does it better with indelible ink in thumbs to prevent multiple voting.

      • “Frankly, I can’t see how it could be arguable that postal ballots are not more prone to fra ud than in-person ballots”

        Here’s how it works: If you want to vote by mail today, you have to contact the election board and request an absentee ballot. In my state, an absentee ballot has to be certified by a Notary Public before it can be mailed in. This method assures that there is a valid, registered voter requesting an absentee ballot and then the ballot is certified to have been filled out by the person intended. So the integrity of the vote is maintained. If people don’t have confidence in the vote, then we are finished as a nation.

        What President Trump does not want to happen is for states to take their voter rolls and then mail out ballots to everyone on the roll. The problem with doing this is there are many people who have died since the last vote, or have moved, or otherwise won’t receive their ballots. So what happens to those ballots? We have no way of knowing whether those ballots were filled out by the eligible voter addressed or by someone else.

        There is all sorts of fraud connected with these mailout ballots. One method is to pay someone to go around to mailboxes and steal the ballots, or they send people around to people’s houses to collect their ballots, and who knows what happens to the ballots after that. And then there is the problem of some actually printing out their own ballots and sending them in.

        I heard that Los Angeles country has a voter registration roll that is higher than the populaton by over 100,000. So if California mails out ballots to LA, there are at least 100,000 of them going to ineligible/non-existent voters.

        President Trump is correct to try to prevent the cheating that will inevitably follow a mass ballot mailout.

        • In Nevada, they decided to ignore existing law and mail ballots to every registered voter.
          Haven’t voted in decades? No problem, they’ll send you a ballot.
          Ballots to that address have been returned as undeliverable? No problem, they’ll still send you a ballot.

          • Fake ballots, is sort of like a fake election.

            No need for checks and balances, thinking press,……

            Where it will end, the path the Democrats are leading the US on, is exactly like China….

            …opinion ‘news’ channels which say what big brother wants. Fake stories. Fake news.

            Obviously it is not possible to check a paper ballot.

            Logically, in the internet age, there should be no paper ballots.

            There should be smart phone/computer/internet connection with passwords verifying US citizenship as well as identity before voting and voting should capture picture of person and/or fingerprint voting with very strong penalties for fraud.

            Standard real verification, that works, to stop vote stealing.

    • “Yet they choose to fake fact check him on a voting issue because that is the most important issue to them”

      Exactly! It’s a purely political attack on Trump’s efforts to make voting fair. jack doesn’t want the vote to be fair, he wants Trump to lose, and that’s why he has taken on Trump now.

      jack, I can’t think of anyone who has won against Trump yet. You think you are going to be the guy? I don’t think so. I think your arrogance has blinded you to reality.

      Conservative Twitter, that’s what we need. Heck, even I would join a Conservative Twitter, just to add to Trump’s numbers.

  15. How do you like them apples, jack? Just remember, you and your leftwing bias and your arrogance brought it all on yourself. You should have left Trump alone. Instead, you poked the Bull, and the Bull doesn’t like it. Now he is poking back, like he always does when people give him a hard time. That includes you, jack. Mark is not too happy with you, jack.

  16. Har har har.
    Could not have come soon enough to a “nicer” bunch of people.
    The Tech Lords have a choice,platform or Publisher.
    As President Trump outlines they have been trying to be both,with accountability to none.
    Heads we win tails you lose,is a hell of an attitude toward your costumers.
    The current shadow banning and “fact checking” by biased ideologues are an abuse of contract.

    One opinion for all does not make for civil discourse..
    As so many of our progressive comrades keep reminding us,you are allowed to have your own opinion…
    “No not that one!”
    Settled science being a classic progg meme.

    A nicely timed slap,to some stunningly arrogant and ignorant pipsqueaks.
    Demon Rat’s heads will be exploding all over the twitter sphere.

  17. Tom Abbott May 28, 2020 at 8:22 pm
    How do you like them apples, jack? Just remember, you and your leftwing bias and your arrogance brought it all on yourself. You should have left Trump alone. Instead, you poked the Bull, and the Bull doesn’t like it. Now he is poking back, like he always does when people give him a hard time. That includes you, jack. Mark is not too happy with you, jack.

    Yeah when you keep poking a bull ya gonna end up with an asshole full of horns, just sayin.

  18. Mr. Worrall, I suggest you get a copy of the EULA that Mr. Donald Trump agreed to when he created his Twitter account.
    ..
    Read the fine print in that EULA, it is a legally binding CONTRACT.

  19. Some info from The Volokh Conspiracy written by a law professor. I would suggest reading the whole thing.

    https://reason.com/2020/05/28/47-u-s-c-%c2%a7-230-and-the-publisher-distributor-platform-distinction/

    “Section 230 makes Internet platforms and other Internet speakers immune from liability for material that’s posted by others Congress enacted 47 U.S.C. § 230 (with some exceptions). That means, for instance, that

    I’m immune from liability for what is said in our comments.
    A newspaper is immune from liability for its comments.
    Yelp and similar sites are immune from liability for business reviews that users post.
    Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube (which is owned by Google) are immune from liability for what their users post.
    Google is generally immune from liability for its search engine results.

    And that’s true whether or not the Internet platform or speaker chooses to block or remove certain third-party materials. I don’t lose my immunity just because I occasionally delete some comments (e.g., ones that contain vulgar personal insults); Yelp doesn’t lose its because it sometimes deletes comments that appear to have come from non-customers; the other entities are likewise allowed to engage in such selection and still retain immunity. Section 230 has recently become controversial, and I want to step back a bit from the current debates to explain where it fits within the traditions of American law (and especially American libel law).

    Historically, American law has divided operators of communications systems into three categories.

    Publishers, such as newspapers, magazines, and broadcast stations, which themselves print or broadcast material submitted by others (or by their own employees).

    Distributors, such as bookstores, newsstands, and libraries, which distribute copies that have been printed by others. Property owners on whose property people might post things —such as bars on whose restroom walls people scrawl “For a good time, call __”—are treated similarly to distributors.

    Platforms, such as telephone companies, cities on whose sidewalks people might demonstrate, or broadcasters running candidate ads that they are required to carry.

    And each category had its own liability rules:

    Publishers were basically liable for material they republished the same way they were liable for their own speech. A newspaper could be sued for libel in a letter to the editor, for instance. In practice, there was some difference between liability for third parties’ speech and for the company’s own, especially after the Supreme Court required a showing of negligence for many libel cases (and knowledge of falsehood for some); a newspaper would be more likely to have the culpable mental state for the words of its own employees. But, still, publishers were pretty broadly liable, and had to be careful in choosing what to publish. See Restatement (Second) of Torts § 578.

    Distributors were liable on what we might today call a “notice-and-takedown” model. A bookstore, for instance, wasn’t expected to have vetted every book on its shelves, the way that a newspaper was expected to vet the letters it published. But once it learned that a specific book included some specific likely libelous material, it could be liable if it didn’t remove the book from the shelves. See Restatement (Second) of Torts § 581; Janklow v. Viking Press (S.D. 1985).

    Platforms weren’t liable at all. For instance, even if a phone company learned that an answering machine had a libelous outgoing message (see Anderson v. N.Y. Telephone Co. (N.Y. 1974)), and did nothing to cancel the owner’s phone service, it couldn’t be sued for libel. Likewise, a city couldn’t be liable for defamatory material on signs that someone carried on city sidewalks (even though a bar could be liable once it learned of libelous material on its walls), and a broadcaster couldn’t be liable for defamatory material in a candidate ad.”

    • “A newspaper is immune from liability for its comments.”

      I don’think this is correct! It’s the whole basis of the current dispute!

  20. It’s up to me to do my own fact checking. If I’m foolish enough to believe everything I see/read, then I’m an idiot. Any sane human, that isn’t a sheep doesn’t need a third party (platform) to affirm the truth of something.
    If I write E=mc^3 , I wouldn’t expect the moderators to correct me. There would be enough other commenters to correct me.

  21. Dr. Andrew Kaufman MD & guests discussing what COVID-19/Coronavirus is = Scam – YouTube

  22. Adam Smith: ““People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public …” (The Wealth Of Nations).
    Most if not all of the internet companies concerned are located in the San Francisco Bay Area and could be regarded as a Cartel.

  23. I wish the EO had also included Wikipedia. When you call yourself the encyclopedia of the world yet let someone like William Connelly be the arbiter of everything climate science, then you can control the entire debate. How many times do see an CAGW cite something on Wikipedia as evidence for their theory? If you have no science training, it looks pretty convincing.

    • Like all far-leftists, they think it is their obligation to stifle discussion on all far-left agenda issues.

      Looks like this law says otherwise if they want to continue to PRETEND they are true “social media”.

      You of course think they should stifle all discussion on their far-left agendas, don’t you Nick.

      Yet you would expect Anthony should NOT censor your comments, even though they are mostly a load of far-left agenda driven tripe.

    • Thumbing their nose at efforts to curb their alleged excesses might unsettle a few shareholders. Trump hasn’t won yet but he has a lot of support, Trump’s supporters are upset at the arrogance of the big tech elite. The more the tech elite express their arrogance, the more support Trump will have for taking punitive action, say breaking them up, attacking their tax minimisation games, or imposing harsher regulation of their activities.

      They are particularly vulnerable on tax. Trump is all that stands between the tech elite and the EU and other governments, who want to carve a slice of their revenue.

    • “Twitter is unrepentant”

      No level of arrogance will save them. It’s just going to make things worse for jack.

    • Like most liberals, they believe themselves to be above the law.
      And if Biden wins, they will be.

    • That is Trump playing 3D or 4D chess and your TDS is so high you cannot spot this for what it is.

      They just ran amuck of their immunity by editorializing the content.

      Trump set them up and they took the bait.

      Wait for it.

      US President vs Twitter docket number PWNED

  24. The EO order is rather interesting if you take out the politics of it (ignoring the China stuff and the whining about Twitter putting fact checks on tweets).

    YouTube was fined last year by the FTC for being a “publisher”. So the precedent of distinction between publisher or platform has already been breached.

    Regardless of how this came about–I agree with a poster upthread who stated this EO is a long time coming. Platforms can’t have it both ways but neither can the government. If the FTC is going to determine a platform as a publisher then perhaps this EO will give that platform back it’s platform’s status and not skew it to publisher.

  25. Some on here seem to think that Twitter, Facebook, et al have free speech rights of their own. That would be true if they are publishers. It is *not* true if they claim immunity under Sec. 230. If they claim immunity under Sec 230 then they voluntarily give up their right to free speech. If they wish to invoke free speech rights then they lose their special immunity.

    To me it’s quite similar to the Doctor-patient relationship. You gain special privileges as a doctor allowing you to refuse to speak about a patient’s medical condition. If you *want* to speak about a patient’s medical condition to a third party then you lose your special privilege and can no longer claim to be a doctor – with all the consequences that might imply.

  26. I still think the best move for Trump is to create a Conservative Twitter and move his 180,000,000 followers to the new platform.

    Run ole jack out of business. That’s the ticket! Show him and others what happens to censors.

  27. Old Joe is the new Great White Hope for a grand assortment of nefarious players and foreign interests like Paris Climate Agreement, EU, UN, and others. Putin, XI, and the mullahs have their shopping lists too.

  28. Yale University constitutional law expert Professor Jack Balkin told Reuters: “The president is trying to frighten, coerce, scare, cajole social media companies to leave him alone and not do what Twitter has just done to him.”
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the draft order “outrageous” and a distraction from the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed more than 100,000 Americans. FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has said that the order is “not the answer” to concerns about the behaviour of social media companies, although fellow Commissioner Brendan Carr expressed support for the order.
    Twitter criticised the executive order as “a reactionary and politicised approach to a landmark law” which could threaten the future of online speech, while a Facebook spokesperson said that the proposed changes will “encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone”. A Google spokesperson said that the order would harm the US economy.
    Thomas Jarzombek, who manages tech affairs at the German Ministry of Economic Affairs, tweeted at Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey, inviting them to relocate to Germany where they would be “free to criticise the government as well as to fight fake news”.
    Later, Twitter took further action against Trump’s activity on its platform, hiding one of his tweets which broke the rules for “glorifying violence”. The tweet can still be viewed with a click and will remain on the site due to public interest, Twitter said.
    The offending tweet referred to protestors in Minneapolis as “THUGS” and commented “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”. The protests, which were organised in response to video evidence of the death of a black man, George Floyd, at the hands of police officers, have escalated in their third night.

    https://eandt.theiet.org/content/articles/2020/05/trump-signs-executive-order-tearing-up-protections-for-internet-platforms/?utm_source=Adestra&utm_campaign=New%20EandT%20News%20-%20Automation%20FINAL%20-%20NON%20MEMBER&utm_medium=Newsletters%20-%20E%26T%20News&utm_content=E%26T%20News%20-%20Non-Members&utm_term=879303

    • Various left to far-left players are upset about something Trump has done.
      Call me again when something unusual happens.

      • Far left will be far left. Pelosi just needs to go eat her ice cream.

        News of the day “The sky was blue today” more details in our 10pm new hour.

    • “Yale University constitutional law expert Professor Jack Balkin told Reuters: “The president is trying to frighten, coerce, scare, cajole social media companies to leave him alone and not do what Twitter has just done to him.””

      Trump doesn’t want just himself to be left alone – he wants *everyone* to be left alone to say their piece. Once again the leftists hear exactly what they want to hear and not what is actually said!

      “Twitter criticised” ” “Facebook spokesperson said” ” A Google spokesperson said”

      Nothing of what these corporate entities are saying is true. Letting everyone speak is *NOT* going to threaten the existence of online speech. Letting everyone speak is *not* the same censoring everyone. And letting everyone speak is *NOT* going to harm the US economy.

      Germany does *NOT* have a Bill of Rights as the US does. If these companies actually want to be regulated to death then move to Germany! Germany and the EU will show them what *REAL* regulation is!

    • “Twitter criticised the executive order as “a reactionary and politicised approach to a landmark law” which could threaten the future of online speech”

      Twitter is the one threatening the future of online speech. That’s what this is all about.

  29. Sounds like the wrong way to go about limiting the power of these companies.
    The real power behind these companies is intellectual property rights, not immunity from lawsuit.
    For the most part, almost all their intellectual property rights are fraudulent, in the same vain that Apple being able to patent a round corner on a phone is fraudulent.

    • The real power behind these companies is intellectual property rights, not immunity from lawsuit.

      Disagree.

      *IF* there’s really any power at all behind these companies (and I’m still dubious), their power is here:

      “Today, many Americans follow the news . . . through social media and other online platforms.”

      How many is “many” I don’t think anyone knows, but if you get your news solely from Farcebook or Twaddle or Gurgle, then as Alex in his comment above studiously observed, you’re “an idiot.”

      There’s a much scarier bully in the room than any social media company, and it’s government.

      • I agree that the power of the state must be circumscribed as much as possible but that’s not what this is about (as I understand it as a non-US citizen).
        The government regulations already exist, the issue is the application of those regulations to an industry seemingly populated and popular with the political left, people who would normally applaud state interference in general but not when applied to them.

        • Well I have to admit after familiarizing myself a little better with what Trump’s done here, I’m not nearly as concerned as I was before.

          This EO initiates the federal bureaucracy to bureaucratize rather than imposing any direct rules of behavior on private corps from the White House. Moreover, the states are involved, which makes me a happier federalist observer as well.

          You’re right Chris, no reason to panic here.

  30. Time to pull back the curtain of *Wikipedia*, which has long served as a disinformation platform for the left:

    https://www.heartland.org/publications-resources/publications/whats-wrong-with-wikipedia

    https://anonhq.com/beware-wikipedia-never-trust/

    The disinformation is now admitted by even one of its founders:

    https://larrysanger.org/2020/05/wikipedia-is-badly-biased/

    Operation of Wikipedia as an instrument of propaganda will cease only when those responsible have been held to account. I feel a class action coming on.

    • “Operation of Wikipedia as an instrument of propaganda will cease only when those responsible have been held to account.”

      For heaven’s sake, just write your own.

  31. Just remember this about “Nick.” He is questioning a U.S. president’s executive order regarding matters of U.S. law, when “Nick” (Ken Rice) is actually a South African residing in the UK and working at the University of Edinburgh. As a non-American, his opinions are tangential and irrelevant to U.S. domestic matters. Until a Scottish or South African company arises to challenge for Internet dominance, he should be thankful for the U.S.-based platform that allows him an international voice and for those guardians of the U.S. Constitution such as President Trump that enable his free speech. Deep down, if Nick were to be thoughtful of the matter, he is philosophically much more aligned with President Trump than he is willing to admit.

    • “As a non-American, his opinions are tangential and irrelevant to U.S. domestic matters. “
      I actually live in the same country as the author of this article on which we are commenting.

  32. Less bias, less division. I think this is a win for all.
    Up to this point, the few and large social media giants took a knee-jerk biased response to censorship. Leave it up to Trump to save social media from themselves.

  33. Just this morning, I responded to a Twitter “poll” asking whether I thought President Trump should be banned from Twitter. I voted, and the count rolled up from 72928 to 72929. Then, based on another, tweet, I refreshed the page. The count dropped back to 72928.

    Challenge: Guess what my vote was, Yes or No?

    • BTW, the “poll” was tweeted by someone in NYC, fairly new to Twitter but with several thousand alleged “followers.” His tweets also include a shot showing people all crammed together on a boardwalk, supposedly not following guidelines. The shot was taken with a telephoto lens, obviously intended to deceive.

  34. These social media sited are classed as a utility and it is not their job to censor in the same way a phone company- a utility- does not monitor phone calls and terminate the ones they disagree with.

  35. ”But, since W’UWT does not do censorship, WUWT has nothing to worry about from Trump or any other president under the new Executive Order.””

    Yes they do Tom.
    Just ask Joseph Postma if he can ever defend himself here against the bullschit spouted about him by Dr woy et al.

  36. I’m guessing that contributions to the presidents re-election campaign, from social-media-billionaires, is going to be severely lacking then….

  37. https://ilt.eff.org/Defamation__CDA_Cases.html

    I am afraid much of the original article and the discussion is just wrong. Wrong about what the law actually is.

    If you go through these cases, it really does look as if the effect of #230 is to allow a site operator to intervene quite substantially in what is posted by users without thereby assuming the liability of a publisher.

    It really does look as if one can bring up a site, delete or moderate all left wing posts, openly favor right leaning points of view, and not be liable for what is on the site as a result.

    As a for instance.

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