Trump's Plan: Break the Internet to Suppress the Vote - 2020-05-28
The internet, and Twitter in particular, is central to President Donald Trump's power. His tweets move everything from Pentagon policy on Syria and transgender service to how Republican lawmakers vote on surveillance law. Their frequent falsity is beside the point. It's the influence that matters.
Now Trump is trying to push a lasting structural change upon the internet, one that internet-freedom advocates fear will entrench a disincentive for any social media company to block disinformation on their platform. And it comes after Twitter, an open sewer for disinformation, took a very meager step to stop Trump from suppressing the vote in November.
In signing an executive order on Thursday, Trump called for "new regulations" with respect to the provision of the 1996 Communications Decency Act permitting internet companies to remove or restrict content they host "that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable." The provision, Section 230, establishes that social-media and other internet content hosts are platforms, not publishers, and therefore not legally liable for what users say, do, or experience online.