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'The Decision Is Ours Alone' Says FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks Regarding Trump's Social Media Executive Order

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'The Decision Is Ours Alone' Says FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks Regarding Trump's Social Media Executive Order

Commissioner Geoffrey Starks dismissed President Donald Trump’s executive order saying the Federal Communications Commission should stay clear of the debate on the liability of social media platforms for the content posted on them.

What Happened

The executive order would affect social media firms such as Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ: FB), which are not liable for illegal content they host as long as they remove it, as required by law.

Trump signed the order after he was fact-checked by Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) last month, over a tweet related to electoral malpractice. 

The executive order calls upon the United States Attorney General William Barr, to draft legislation that would impact Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996.

Reflecting on the executive order, Starks said there are good reasons to stay out of the debate, adding, "The decision is ours alone."

Why It Matters

Some government officials feel that protections extended to social media and others such as Alphabet Inc.’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) (NASDAQ: GOOGL) YouTube are leading to a suppression of free speech, reported Techcrunch.

Starks is one of the five FCC commissioners, and the federal agency has yet to deliberate on the executive order.

Asserting the FCC’s independence, the commissioner said, “The executive order definitely gets one thing right, and that is that the president cannot instruct the FCC to do this or anything else.”

The commissioner made it clear he did not think the law was perfect, rather it was the methodology deployed in changing it that was unjustified.

The Justice Department, too, has weighed in on the matter and is offering its own set of recommendations

Starks noted that the first amendment of the constitution allows social media companies to censor content “freely in ways the government never could” and also protects these companies against government retaliation.

 

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