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Big Tech is hiding behind the law: update

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President Trump convened a summit of social media giants, including Facebook and Twitter. Following the summit, President Trump announced:

“Today, I am directing my administration to explore all regulatory and legislative solutions to protect free speech and the free speech rights of all Americans,” POTUS Trump announced. “We hope to see transparency, more accountability, and more freedom.”

In 2016, before the tech giants began altering their search, publication, and distribution algorithms, conservative speakers were dominant on social media, likely helping propel the president to victory. But by the 2018 elections, based on several studies and investigative reporting, the tech giants had begun — in concert — campaigns to silence conservative, pro-Trump voices, led by the behemoths Facebook and Twitter.

The companies are taking advantage of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which “provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an interactive computer service who publish information published by others,” the Minc Legal Resource Center noted.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation added that “Section 230 says that ‘No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.’” 

But, argue opponents, when Facebook, Twitter, Google, YouTube, and other platforms begin censoring content they find politically objectionable, that makes them publishers, and they therefore should lose their immunity to face legal consequences for those acts of censorship, especially if they have taken money from users they are censoring.

The president’s summit may already be having a positive effect on conservative and independent publishers. For instance, The Western Journal, whose Facebook traffic had been reduced significantly, suddenly found its traffic returning to normal levels a day before the summit — after months of battling with the platform to get it restored.

There is a long way to go, however, to ensure that all conservative and indy publishers’ traffic from their subscribers and followers returns to normal. The president has at least gotten the ball rolling, and well ahead of the 2020 elections.

Well, good. It’s a start.

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