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AFP: White House Executive Order a Counterproductive Step to Addressing Social Media Bias

May 28, 2020 by AFP

Arlington, VA – Americans for Prosperity (AFP) Senior Tech Policy Analyst Billy Easley II issued the following statement in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order that purports to promote free speech on internet platforms:

“This executive order misreads the law and mistakes the role of government. Censorship comes from government trying to police speech – not private companies. People, not the tools they use, are responsible for their words and actions online. Attempts to force the makers of those tools to police speech online are dangerous. If lawmakers are truly concerned with ideological bias limiting free expression online, they should recognize that Section 230 is the very tool that enables companies to counter that trend.

“Threatening to flood private companies with trial attorney lawsuits meant to suppress speech isn’t just bad for Democracy, it will fail in the courts. We encourage leadership at the FCC and FTC, which are independent agencies accountable to Congress, to exercise that independence.”

Last Summer, AFP joined 53 academics and 27 civil society groups in laying out 7 principles for lawmakers to consider when addressing intermediary liability laws.

For additional context, read Easley’s oped on digital free speech in The Resurgent.

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