WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission will begin a rule-making procedure that could scale back legal protections for social-media platforms, in a step toward the Trump administration’s goal of combating what it views as anticonservative bias in the platforms’ content-moderation practices.
The review had been sought by President Donald Trump and other conservatives, who say social-media platforms have used Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to censor conservative viewpoints.
In a statement announcing the decision, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the law has been applied too broadly.
“Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230,” Pai said. It isn’t known whether Pai will be able to push a rule-making through the FCC.
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One of the three Republicans on the five-member FCC already has expressed doubt that the agency has the legal authority to interpret Section 230, and Pai’s proposal is unlikely to draw support from either of the two Democrats on the panel. The outcome of the Nov. 3 presidential election could play a significant role in the outcome. The internet industry dismisses claims of bias.
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