After an initial flurry of comments from individuals opposed to President Trump's petition to the FCC to regulate social media, the latest comments posted by the FCC have been a flurry of submissions from supporters of the petition, mostly copies of faxes from a Florida-based religious group.
The Sec. 230 docket* now registers in the 10 busiest dockets in terms of filings submitted in the past 30 days, coming in at number 10 with 175 comments at press time. The docket was opened for comment Aug. 3.
So far, the only comment posted from an industry stakeholder has been from Vimeo, which said the FCC should not even collect comments but just reject the petition out of hand as beyond the Trump Administration's authority to ask and the FCC's to accede.
While counting comments for and against is a familiar inside-the-Beltway thumbnail gauge of an issue, it will take some digging.
That is because the FCC is posting some multiple comments, sometimes a dozen or more, from Liberty Counsel Action, an Orlando, Fla., based religious group, in a single filing link under the name of the first commenter, followed by "et. al" to signal there are multiple filings in the link.
*Sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act is social media's legal immunity from civil liability over its handling of most third-party content, a protection the President's petition would weaken.
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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.