NTIA Files Section 230 Petition with FCC

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The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC or Commission) to clarify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (Section 230), as instructed by President Trump’s executive order (EO). Section 230 was originally adopted in reaction to court decisions that held if an online platform restricted access to some posted content it would become a “publisher” of all the content posted on its site.  The EO is aimed at combating what the President believes is unlawful censorship on social media platforms.  FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel has said that the Commission should “honor the Constitution” and reject the petition.

As instructed by the EO, NTIA, in its petition, requested that the Commission issue rules to: (1) clarify the relationship between subsections (c)(1) and (c)(2); (2) specify that Section 230(c)(1) has no application to any interactive computer service’s decision, agreement, or action to restrict access to material provided by another information content provider; (3) provide clearer guidance to courts, online platforms, and users on what content falls within Section 230(c)(2) immunity; (4) specify that the definition of “information content provider” includes editorial decisions that modify or alter content; and (5) mandate disclosure for Internet transparency.

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