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Professor Roy Gutterman L'00: Trump, Twitter, & the Distraction of Censorship

Posted on Friday 5/29/2020
Roy Gutterman

(syracuse.com | May 29, 2020) The day after the country broke the mark of 100,000 dead of Covid-19, unemployment reached 40 million and a major midwestern city burned after riots following another racial police brutality death, President Donald Trump signed an executive order attacking social media.

Thanks for the distraction. By ordering the Federal Communications Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Attorney General to regulate and monitor social media, essentially for content critical of the president, the order ignores legal precedent, existing federal laws and standard government practices with regard to independent media.

This will surely be tested in the courts, which hopefully will look to First Amendment precedent for guidance.

This action not only seems to contradict the administration’s own policy on net neutrality, but seeks to upend 25 years of precedent under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), which has become a strong backbone of protecting speech on the internet and protecting those platforms.

The latest backlash came after Twitter announced it would fact-check and label the president’s tweets when they include glaring inaccuracies, such as unsubstantiated accusations and outright false statements ...

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