The Trump administration seems determined to take action concerning its irritation with social media networks’ supposed bias against right-wing speech, as the White House is reportedly drafting an executive order directing agencies to do something about it.
Politico reported earlier this week that the White House was circulating drafts of a proposed order, but the site couldn’t get anyone to describe what was in this document. Today, however, CNN says it has seen a summary of the draft executive order.
The current draft, called “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship,” would put the burden of Internet content management on the Federal Communications Commission, calling on the agency—which has never before dealt with regulation of online content—to develop regulations clarifying under what circumstances social media platforms are protected by the law when moderating content. It also says the Federal Trade Commission should consider whatever policies the FCC comes up with when it investigates companies for not adhering to their stated policies.
The summary says the administration received 15,000 anecdotal complaints about online censorship from the online form it launched in Mayasking for user reports, and the White House offers to share those complaints with the FTC for a public complaint docket. The most recent high-profile right-wing censorship complaint was resolved earlier today, when Twitter, under significant pressure, reversed course on allowing the campaign account for Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to share a video showing “abusive behavior” on the part of protestors.
Trump last month held a social media event at the White House, and he railed against the “tremendous dishonesty, bias, discrimination, and suppression practiced by” platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. “We will not let them get away with it much longer,” he said at the time.
The platforms’ supposed silencing of conservative voices is “disgraceful,” added the president, whose personal Twitter account has about 63 million followers.
The White House, the FTC, and the FCC all declined to comment to CNN on the draft summary, which is a long way yet from being any kind of official order. FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, however, tweeted out a link to the CNN story with the one-word commentary: “What.”