GOP Senators Seek FCC Input on Sec. 230

A quartet of Republican senators aren't waiting for the Commerce Department to petition the FCC to get into the issue of rethinking social media's exemption from civil liability over their moderation of third party content. 

That came in a letter to FCC chair Ajit Pai from Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Josh Hawley (Mo.) (pictured above), Kelly Loeffler (Ga.) and Kevin Cramer (N.D.). 

The senators cited President Trump's Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship, which mandates that Commerce's National Telecommunications & Information Administration ask the FCC to come up with a framework for exempting censorship of political speech from that so-called Sec. 230 exemption. 

"It is time to take a fresh look at Section 230 and to interpret the vague standard of 'good faith' with specific guidelines and direction," they said, echoing Trump's order. 

"We therefore request that the FCC clearly define the framework under which technology firms, including social media companies, receive protections under Section 230," they wrote. 

Pai Tuesday (June 9) declined to comment on the FCC's role in that issue, saying he did not think it was appropriate given that the FCC is awaiting the petition for rulemaking. Once that is filed, Pai will almost certainly not comment either since he generally makes it a practice not to comment on issues that are before the commission.

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.