Pai Raises Concern Over Edge Transparency

Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai is declining to weigh in on President Donald Trump's tweets about shooting protesters and their labeling by Twitter as content glorifying violence, a move that upset the president. But Pai did comment on his own related tweet on the issue, saying this week he was speaking to the larger issue of platform transparency. 

Related: Trump Issues Social Media Executive Order

In that May 29 tweet following the president's, Pai had questioned Twitter's labeling standards in this tweet:


Back in fall 2017, and perhaps even earlier, the chairman said this week,, he has identified the issue of consumers “long wondering about the transparency of these platforms, how they make decisions and do they apply the rules consistently.” 

Pai said he had no personal view on any particular tweet, but that his interest now as then is about the transparency, or lack of it, on social media platforms such as Twitter. Over the past several years, he said, FCC members from both sides of the aisle "wonder how these companies, which have increasing importance in our public discourse, make some of these decisions." 

Twitter has begun labeling violent or fact-challenged tweets, even ones citing conspiracy theories about 5G, a content moderation decision that has raised the issue of how much civil liability protection social media sites should continue to enjoy. 

Related: Trump Social Media Executive Order Gets Mixed FCC Review

In the wake of Twitter's labeling of the president's tweets, Trump has issued an executive order mandating the Commerce Department petition the FCC to find a way to regulate social media content moderation of their platforms as a way to prevent what the White House labels political censorship. 

Pai said he won’t prejudge that issue. The petition is expected to be filed before the end of the month.  

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.