The Commerce Department on Monday asked the
The request was called for in an
But the petitionrenews attention on web companies ahead of an
“Social media and its growing dominance present troubling questions on how to preserve First Amendment ideals and promote diversity of voices in modern communications technology,” the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a Commerce Department arm, said in its petition to the FCC.
Trump signed the executive order after Twitter
Times have changed since the law giving the platforms liability protection was written, and “a handful of large social media platforms” have replaced a “sprawling world” of dial-up internet service providers and countless bulletin boards, according to the NTIA petition.
The Republican-majority FCC is an independent agency and has leeway to reject the request. But Brian Hart, an agency spokesman, said in an email that the “FCC will carefully review the petition.”
“While social media can be frustrating, turning this agency into the president’s speech police is not the answer,” Rosenworcel said in an emailed statement. “If we honor the Constitution, we will reject this petition immediately.”
The executive order is the latest in a yearslong campaign by the president and his allies against social media companies. The companies say they’re combating disinformation and foreign interference after the federal government found that
Online companies have protections against lawsuits when they act “in good faith” in suppressing social media posts, but the law doesn’t define bad faith. According to Trump’s executive order, the FCC would issue rules clarifying the issue. This could allow users to sue over takedowns.
In June, the
The Internet Association, a trade group representing major online providers, has sought to refute accusations of unfairness. “Claims of so-called viewpoint bias rely on isolated anecdotes,” Interim President and Chief Executive Officer
(Updates with background on executive order beginning in third paragraph.)
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