CCIA Warns Against FCC Rulemaking on Sec. 230

Exterior of the FCC building in Washington, D.C.
(Image credit: FCC)

Computer companies this week were warning the FCC not to issue a rulemaking in response to the Trump Administration's petition to regulate social media.

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In a virtual meeting with staffers for FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, representatives of the Computer & Communications Industry Association said the petition's request that the FCC narrow the Sec. 230 definition of "otherwise objectionable" content could open the floodgates to "disinformation, extremism, racism, and "other content" that is objectionable but no illegal.

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Sec. 230 of the Communications Act gives social media and other Web sites immunity from civil liability for how they moderate most third-party content they post on their sites, including not posting or de-posting "otherwise objectionable content."

The Trump Administration sees that as a loophole that liberal-leaning Big Tech companies use to censor conservative speech, and wants the FCC to close that loophole.

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The President issued an executive order to that effect, including directing the National Telecommunications & Information Administration to submit the petition, which it dutifully did. 

CCIA said that a rulemaking was "not appropriate in response to this petition."

They were preaching to the choir when it came to Commissioner Rosenworcel, who has said that "an Executive Order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the President’s speech police is not the answer."

CCIA made similar pitches to other commissioners.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.