Section 230. Communications Decency Act

President Trump Tweets ‘REVOKE 230!’ After Twitter Places Disclaimer on Post; Signs EO Addressing Online Censorship

President Trump, long known for his avid use of Twitter to sidestep mainstream media and directly address the American people, and the world, posted a succinct tweet only an hour ago: REVOKE 230!

This was a response to Twitter placing a warning label on President Trump’s tweet posted at 12:53 AM this morning:

“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right…..

“….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

Section 230. Communications Decency Act

Section 230. Communications Decency Act

The warning stated:

“This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible. Learn more”

President Trump’s tweet was clearly written in direct response to the looting and vandalism that was happening in Minneapolis. George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed by Derek Chauvin, a White police officer. Oddly enough, the two men worked together in a night club as security detail  in years past.

Chauvin was arrested this afternoon in connection with the killing of George Floyd, apparently taken into custody by state officials. Floyd had repeatedly pleaded with the officers to relieve the pressure of a knee to his neck, saying “I can’t breathe,” in an incident that had many Americans recalling the incident of Eric Garner’s death in 2014.

Crowds were protesting again late last night, demanding that the four police officers involved in the death of Floyd be immediately prosecuted. All four officers were immediately fired after the incident, but protesters want them prosecuted, criminally. So does the mayor of Minneapolis. However, the gatherings boiled over to outright violence, as buildings were burned and stores looted.

Was President Trump referring to protesters as thugs?

Clearly, he was referencing those who were not peacefully protesting, but rather using the incident as an excuse to loot and pillage. This was the second time in recent weeks that Twitter placed a disclaimer on Our President’s tweets, referring to his text  as “potentially misleading” in both instances.

This afternoon, President Trump took to Twitter for clarification of his earlier tweet:

Looting leads to shooting, and that’s why a man was shot and killed in Minneapolis on Wednesday night – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the expression put out last night means….

How does it help Black families to loot and burn the local Target store, ayway? How is this an effective expression of dissatisfaction with the handling of the Floyd murder?

Surely, many African-American employees at the store fed their families by earning wages working there. What are they going to do now? And, how does it help the community by burning down a resource the entire community needs, a place where everyone shops?

After three nights of rioting, numerous structures had been burned to the ground, including a police station.

Protesting is not looting. Rioting is not demonstrating.

The Executive Order aims to curb the unrestricted power that the Communications Decency Act of 1996 granted to operators of online forums and websites. Section 230, specifically, protects such “online services” from being considered publishers, exempting them from legal action.

The Communications Decency Act was penned for the express purpose of restricting minors’ access to sexually explicit material online.

President Trump spoke thusly on Thursday, prior to the signing of the EO, firmly asserting that he will, “…”defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history.”

“A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States…They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.”:

As it is presently interpreted, The Communications Decency Act, and specifically Section 230, grants websites more freedom than is enjoyed by private citizens. Under the present law, citizens cannot even have libelous posts removed at their request, or seek monetary damages. The CDA shields online operators from any, and all, responsibility.

At the same time, “Internet companies,” be they Internet Service Providers, Website or social media operators, or any other online company, was granted overarching power to censor its users, at will.

Altering the interpretation of this act will not be the death of the Internet, as some uninformed citizens lament. Instead, it will create accountability to Internet companies, presently above the law.

There are numerous significant lawsuits currently in the Federal Court system dockets addressing Section 230. It’s not as though this law was going to remain unchallenged for very long, either way.

Even Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner for the 2020 Presidential election, stated in an interview with the New York Times earlier this year that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act should be “revoked, immediately.”

Biden further elaborated on his position:

“The idea that it’s a tech company is that Section 230 should be revoked, immediately should be revoked, number one. For Zuckerberg and other platforms…It should be revoked because it is not merely an internet company. It is propagating falsehoods they know to be false.”

He tweeted on November 11, “I, for one, think we should be considering taking away [Facebook’s] exemption that they cannot be sued for knowingly engaged on, in promoting something that’s not true.”

Changes to the Communications Decency Act are inevitably going to happen. It’s just an issue of when Congress with address this, or the Federal Courts will strike down the law, as it is presently written and understood.

As far as the present situation, Democrats are fuming, despite their lead man having the same opinion as President Trump on this matter. Here are just some comments to President Trump’s tweet, not necessarily from Liberals or Democrats:

Sean K said, “Sorry but they don’t make orange rocks.”

Angela Belcamino said, “REVOKE TRUMP 2020!”

Bruno Amato said, “Worst economy ever.
Worst death toll ever.
Worst racism ever.
Worst “president” ever.
Coincidence? No.”

Eugene Gu, MD, said, “Whether or not large social media companies should be regulated as publishers is totally not a priority right now when the country is on the cusp of a revolution, people are dying, 40 million Americans lost their jobs, and the United States is literally burning. Fix that first.”

Pantomath said, “Real Thugs” and posted a photo of President Trump in a Last Supper parody with Republicans and members of the media.

Ms. Krassenstein said, “Section 230 protects our First Amendment. If 230 is revoked, the internet will die. Of course you don’t have the understanding required to realize this though.”

 

As can be expected, Republicans and Conservatives supported President Trump. here are some tweets in support of President Trump, not necessarily those of Conservatives or Republicans:

thebradfordfile™ said, “The 1st Amendment is meant to protect every citizen in America, even President Donald J. Trump.”

Bradley Scott said, “If Freedom of Speech doesn’t exist equally for EVERY person on social media, including a Republican president, then 230 is a joke!! I agree, get rid of it!”

Catturd ™ said, “Appoint a Special Counsel to look into election interference by every Big Tech company.”

7 Comments

  • Avatar King Cuomo Rules says:

    It’s all falling apart for these would be rules. King Cuomo was what we saw., but we voted for a governor.

  • Avatar Chauncry Patel says:

    Section 230 has been abused and misused from the start. This was NOT what those people who wrote that Act meant. Facebook and Twitter are god now. And what about newspapers? The comment sections are a joke. This is the only place I can comment and know nobody is going to take my comment off. And they allow anon. Other papers if they don’t like what you say off your comment goes! I was not a big fan of Donald Trump. Hated his show. And his first 3 years were just meh. But he’s standing up finally and that’s what we all need. Just wish he had stayed with his election platform. I knew he wouldn’t deliver. He has only months left. We’ll see. Either way I am not voting.

  • Avatar Born Free says:

    We have a case pending against an internet company based on Section 230. It was a big deal, all over the Internet news sites. We were ridiculed and mocked but now who’s laughing? We’ll see what happens. I love freedom. More than the “next guy.” Freedom is what my life is all about. My own. Yours. Ours. Section 230 have companies MORE freedom than individuals. And that’s not right. We’ll see. We may win the case,we may not. But we stood up. That’s what counts.

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