Trump Considers Executive Order to Make FCC Police How Social Media Prioritizes Content (Report)

News comes a day after Trump campaign halted Twitter spending in response to suspension of Mitch McConnell’s account

Last Updated: August 10, 2019 @ 7:13 AM

Donald Trump is considering a sweeping executive order to give the Federal Communications Commission authority to oversee how social media platforms curate content, CNN reported Friday.

CNN reported that it had obtained a summary of a draft of the executive order, titled “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship.” According to the network, the draft said that the Trump administration has received at least “15,000 anecdotal complaints” about censorship of certain political viewpoints on social media, and will share them with the FCC.

These complaints likely came from an online forum the administration launched in May encouraging Americans to report any actions they considered to be social media censorship.

According to CNN, the executive order would also ask the Federal Trade Commission to open a public complaint forum of its own and work with the FCC to produce a report into how tech companies curate content. The network said also that the order would target platforms with month users equaling or surpassing one-eighth of the population of the United States, and specifically names Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Snapchat.

The draft executive order also seeks to limit the interpretation of a key part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Communications Decency Act, which protects tech platforms from liability for most of what users post if the companies in question act “in good faith,” CNN reporting, adding that the executive order would specifically ask the FCC to disqualify tech companies from the good faith provision if it is determined the company removed content “without notifying the user who posted the material, or if the decision is proven to be evidence of anticompetitive, unfair or deceptive practices.”

The CNN report stressed that the process of drafting the order is not complete and changes are still being made.

Representatives for the White House, the FCC and the FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment from TheWrap.

Though it has so far never been proven, conservatives have frequently accused tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter of bias against them. And the report of Trump’s executive order draft comes one day after his reelection campaign halted ad spending on Twitter in response to a temporary suspension of Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s account. The McConnell campaign account was locked on Wednesday afternoon, after it tweeted out a video that showed protesters outside McConnell’s house.

A Twitter spokesperson told TheWrap the account was locked because the video “violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety.” The account was reinstated on Friday.