Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said Thursday that the committee will proceed with a plan to ''clarify'' a provision of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which protects technology companies from legal liability.
''The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230,'' of the law, Pai said in a statement. ''Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning.”
He added, ''Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression. Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”
The chairman also referred to a ruling made earlier this week in the U.S. Supreme Court, in which ''Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far beyond the actual text of the provision.”
The two Democratic commissioners at the FCC, Geoffrey Starks and Jessica Rosenworcel, publicly criticized the move.
''We’re in the midst of an election. The President’s Executive Order on #Section230 was politically motivated and legally unsound. The FCC shouldn’t do the President’s bidding here,''Starks tweeted.
''The FCC has no business being the President’s speech police,''added Rosenworcel.
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