FCC's Ajit Pai Has Issues With Permanent Trump Social Media Bans

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai
(Image credit: N/A)

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he has some issues with the permanent bans on President Trump's Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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In response to a question on his last press call, the chairman said he recognized the country was going through difficult times "and these are difficult questions to confront." 

Pai had said last week that it was a 'terrible mistake' for the President to suggest changing election results and added Wednesday (Jan. 13) that the President should also have done more to discourage the assault once it was underway.

He declined to weigh in on the impeachment debate in the House, which was going on at the same time as his press conference, saying that was a decision for Congress to make. 

But Pai said he does think that the determinations [on the President's accounts] speak to the consistency and transparency, or lack thereof, when it comes to the decisionmaking process.

"For example," he said, "it is still unclear why certain decisions were made and whether the principles that animated those decisions are being applied through the platform."

Conservative Republicans have consistently argued they are not, one reason many of them, joined by the President, wanted the FCC to adjust social media platforms' Sec. 230 immunity from civil liability for third- party content to ensure they are applying standards consistently.

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Pai cited the example, oft cited by his Republican colleagues, of the Supreme Leader of Iran's content remaining available while the President's was not. 

Pai said he has been talking for a long time about how tech giant platforms make these determinations.

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.