Press Release

Public Knowledge Urges FCC to Reject Unlawful Trump Administration Request to Rewrite Section 230

September 2, 2020 , , ,

Today, Public Knowledge filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission on the Trump Administration’s unlawful attempt to have the FCC assert jurisdiction over, and rewrite, Section 230 of the Communications Act. 

Following a controversy over Twitter fact-checking one of the President’s false tweets, the administration directed the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to file a petition for rulemaking with the FCC, which is an independent agency, asking it to curtail the liability shield that allows online services to host and moderate user posts. The scope of Section 230 is a topic of public and bipartisan concern, however, this petition has no legal basis and its policy recommendations are unsound.

The following can be attributed to John Bergmayer, Legal Director at Public Knowledge:

“The Trump Administration, via the NTIA, has put forward bad legal and policy arguments in a forum that has no authority to hear them. The NTIA petition’s misrepresentations and misstatements of the law are pervasive. To the extent the administration disagrees with the law that Congress passed, it is free to say so, but the FCC must resist this call for it to expand its jurisdiction into regulating the content moderation and editorial choices of interactive computer services, while recognizing that the arguments NTIA put forward as to why the FCC has authority here are no better than the petition’s specious and trivial mischaracterizations of the statute itself.”

You may view the comments here. You may also view our Section 230 blog series to learn more about the law or view our blog post, “Could the FCC Regulate Social Media Under Section 230? No,” for more information. You may also join this week’s Free Expression Forum to discuss Section 230 and how it can uplift marginalized voices.