Our working definition of a digital platform (with a hat tip to Harold Feld of Public Knowledge) is an online service that operates as a two-sided or multi-sided market with at least one side that is “open” to the mass market
President Donald Trump fired off a missive in the wee hours Nov 6 suggesting yet again that social media platforms should be punished for labeling his tweets about vote counts as misleading and hiding a number of his posts. "Twitter is out of control, made possible through the government gift of Section 230!" he posted on Twitter.
The Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to interpret Section 230. Congress did not give the FCC any role in interpreting the law, or, importantly, in adopting rules to implement that interpretation. Section 230 concerns liability for various torts as litigated between private parties. The FCC has no role—only the parties and state and federal judges do. Indeed, the legislative history of Section 230 makes clear that Congress didn’t want the FCC to have any role with regard to Section 230 or with regulating online platforms.
Tuesday, November 3, is Election Day. And as you may well be trying to decipher the latest polls to predict who'll be running the federal government for the next four years, policymakers haven't taken a break. Here's a quick recap of the major news of the week.
Current Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has led the agency for nearly four years, and it’s unclear how much longer he plans to stay on. A President Donald Trump win carries a high likelihood that FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr will be selected — not elected — as the next chairman. And his first task will certainly be to regulate social media in America.
Tech on the Rocks Ep 10 | Rage Against the Machines: Is our Election Technology Safe and Secure? (Part II)
With the most consequential election in a generation just days away, we continue to ask ourselves: are state and local governments ready for this? With recent cyber intrusions from adversaries such as Russia and Iran, a historic surge in early voting, and fears about post-election disinformation on social media, there’s a lot to be concerned about. While this election will be a monumental task for local officials, Verified Voting’s Interim Co-Director and political scientist Mark Lindeman tells us that there are ways to ensure that every vote is counted fairly.
Chairmen Pallone and Doyle Demand Answers from Pai Regarding White House Involvement in Section 230 Rulemaking
House Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-PA) wrote to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai demanding answers for the FCC’s recent and sudden announcement that it is moving forward with a Section 230 rulemaking. Chairmen Pallone and Doyle wrote that since the FCC is an independent regulatory agency responsible directly to Congress, it should be avoiding even the appearance of acting on behalf of the President. They requested answers to a series of questions, including:
The Senate Commerce Committee convene a hearing to examine whether Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has outlived its usefulness in today’s digital age. Lawmakers hammered the chief executives of Twitter, Facebook, Google -- and one another. Republicans claimed the companies were suppressing conservative views. Of the 81 questions asked by Republicans, 69 were about censorship and the political ideologies of the tech employees responsible for moderating content.
Democrats on the Federal Communications Commission are taking issue with Chairman Ajit Pai's announcement that the agency would clarify edge providers' Section 230 immunity from civil liability over third-party content, as the White House has asked.
Justice Department Cites Treatment of Hunter Biden Articles in Call to Change Law Protecting Online Platforms
The Justice Department said it was concerned that Facebook and Twitter restricted access to recent New York Post stories about the son of Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling lawmakers the department supported bipartisan interest in changing a law providing legal protections to online platforms.