Last Friday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Mike O’Rielly told C-SPAN that he sympathizes with the claims of President Donald Trump about how social media platforms were censoring content. Nonetheless, he also said that what the FCC does about that is “a different story,” suggesting that the FCC will have little-no-role in investigating tech companies over the matter.
Simply put, said Section 230 is part of the Communication Decency Act which says that: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider”.
Very recently, Trump had signed an executive order that required the Commerce Department to draft a proposal that would address social media censorship and to petition the proposal to the FCC to help clarify the provisions under the Communications Decency Act to make a case against social media censorship.
Following the aforementioned development, in the interview, O’Rielly, while questioning if Congress provided their department the authority to act, also said, “I do not believe it is the right of the agency to read into the statue authority that is not there”.
It is also worth noting that O’Rielly attended a renomination hearing at the Senate Commerce Committee today. The social media reforms suggested by Trump would be chosen by O’Rielly, Brendan Carr, and the chairman of FCC, Ajit Pai, through a voting system.
While O’Rielly maintains a neutral stance, Carr has praised Trump’s order but said that there is very little guidance on the “good faith” clause of Section 230. Pai’s stance, however, is not known yet.
That being said, it is worth noting that back in 2018, Pai commented that the country would need to think “seriously” with regard to making social media companies adhere to “new transparency requirements regarding censorship and privacy”.