Trump’s push to regulate social media faces uphill battle at FCC

David Shepherdson

U.S. President Donald Trump’s effort to regulate social media companies’ content decisions may face an uphill battle from regulators who have previously said they cannot oversee the conduct of internet firms.

Trump said last week that he wants to “remove or change” a provision of a law that shields social media companies from liability for content posted by their users.

He signed an executive order that directed the Commerce Department to petition the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to write rules clarifying social media companies’ legal protections under Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

FCC chairman Ajit Pai did not endorse the proposal but said in a written statement “this debate is an important one” and added the FCC “will carefully review any petition for rulemaking.”

In August 2018, Pai said he hoped social media companies would embrace free speech but did not see a role for the FCC to regulate websites like Facebook (FB.O), Alphabet’s (GOOGL.O) Google and Twitter (TWTR.N).

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