A draft of the executive order announced by Donald Trump via Twitter in response to the platform's attempt to fact-check his tweets proposes a radical modification of Section 230, the so-called First Amendment of the Internet. It asks the FCC to
examine whether actions related to the editing of content by social media companies should potentially lead to the firms forfeiting their protections under Section 230. The section says that social media and internet forums are not generally
responsible for the content of posts by their users (at least until the companies become aware of illegal content).
The executive order also orders a review of alleged 'unfair or deceptive practices' by Facebook and Twitter and calls on the government
to reconsider advertising on services judged to 'violate free speech principles.'
Section 230 has ensured the legal protection of platforms from liability for third-party content since the popularization of the internet in the mid-1990s.
Reuters described the executive order as an extraordinary attempt to intervene in the media that experts said was unlikely to survive legal scrutiny. However Section 230 protections have already been removed for content relating to sex work and constitutional rights didn't help fend off censorship included in the FOSTA Act.
Offsite: Let's go through Trump's terrible internet censorship order, line by line
Donald Trumps re-election team has failed in attempt to censor Nick Anderson's cartoon mocking Trump's laughable suggestion that injecting disinfectant could protect against Covid-19.
The cartoon is a reference to the 1978 Jonestown massacre ,
where more than 900 people died after drinking cyanide-laced punch at the order of cult leader Jim Jones.
The Pulitzer-winning cartoonist put his cartoon The Trump Cult up for sale on the online retailer Redbubble this month. But Redbubble
pulled Anderson's illustration from sale following a trademark infringement claim made by Trump's campaign organisation, Donald J Trump for President Inc .
Anderson said that he believed the copyright claim was made due to his depiction of
Maga hats, and described the situation as absurd.
The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and other free speech organisations subsequently got involved, sending a group letter to Redbubble that accused Trump's campaign of having misused Redbubble's
reporting mechanism and arguing that the work and those who publish it are protected by the first amendment.
Redbubble reinstated Anderson's cartoon this week citing the usual excuse that the censorship was all some ghastly mistake.
President Trump plans to create a panel to examine cases of bias against conservatives and suppression of free speech on social media, reported The Wall Street Journal. Last week the president tweeted:
The Radical Left is
in total command & control of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google. The Administration is working to remedy this illegal situation. Stay tuned, and send names & events. Thank you Michelle!
It is not clear what department the
panel would fall under or what authority it would have. However, the WSJ talked to sources that said the plans might lead to the creation of a commission that would work with agencies such as the Federal Communication Commission and the Federal Elections
In May 2019, the White House launched a tool that allowed people to share their experiences with political censorship but nothing really came of it. At a Social Media Summit held last July , several conservatives voiced concerns about
censorship on social media and the shadow-banning of their content.
China has reportedly threatened to sanction a Houston congressman, Dan Crenshaw, who has promoted legislation allow let U.S. citizens to China for costs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Crenshaw is one of at least four U.S. politicians identified
by China for abusing litigation against China.
Now China's Global Times has reported that China is threatening that the four lawmakers should expect Chinese sanctions that will make them feel the pain,
The Global Times named Crenshaw and three
other Republicans as targets: Sens. Tom Cotton of Arkansas and Josh Hawley of Missouri, and Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey. All have called for legislation allowing Americans to sue China over the outbreak. Two state attorneys general, also Republicans
-- Eric Schmitt of Missouri and Lynn Fitch of Mississippi -- who have sued China to recover costs from the outbreak were also named.
The US government continues to have the right to snoop on internet users' browsing histories, as well and also internet search histories. A bill that would have stripped the government of its right to conduct the searches with no warrant failed in the
The bipartisan bill, an amendment to a surveillance authority first established under the 2001 Patriot Act, was sponsored by Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden, and Montana Republican Steve Daines. But the amendment required 60 votes to move forward,
and the final Senate vote was 59-37 in favor.
US Senator Ted Cruz will introduce legislation cutting off Defense Department assistance for US movie studios that permit China to censor their content,
Cruz said the bill, called the Stopping Censorship, Restoring Integrity, Protecting Talkies Act,
(SCRIPT), would bar Hollywood studios from doing business with the Pentagon if they accommodate Chinese censors. He said:
For too long, Hollywood has been complicit in China's censorship and propaganda in the name of
bigger profits. The SCRIPT Act will serve as a wakeup call by forcing Hollywood studios to choose between the assistance they need from the American government and the dollars they want from China.
It is common for major Hollywood films
to work with the Pentagon in order use Defense Department assets such as jets, tanks or naval bases. Cruz's legislation would prohibit the DoD from providing access to such assets to US studios that censor films for screening in the Communist nation.
A cited example of Chinese censorship was the removal of a Taiwan flag from Tom Cruise's flying jacket in the film Top Gun.
The senator's office said he would introduce the bill when the Senate is next in session.