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Thankfully for everyone, Trump's misguided attack on social networks faces many roadblocks

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Twitter Logo OnePlus 6 (Image credit: Android Central)

President Trump's executive order relating to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act has now been signed, quickly putting his words into action following a bluster over one of his tweets being "fact checked" this week. The order directs the Commerce Department, Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission to more critically use and enforce portions of Section 230 to keep social media platforms from moderating content.

Section 230 gives social media platforms legal protection from being held responsible for third-party content.

The Verge has an excellent explainer on Section 230, particularly with regards to how it relates to social media platforms and other online publishers. (You can also read the full legal definition, if you're so inclined.) But in extremely simplified terms, Section 230 provides protection for internet platforms that show user-generated content — such as social media sites, video hosts, blogs and news sites. With Section 230 protection, those platforms can host that content without being held individually responsible for whether that content is legal under any other definition — i.e. if someone does something criminal on your platform, the person is responsible instead of the platform. Importantly, that protection also extends to moderating content, meaning a platform cannot get in legal trouble for either banning or choosing not to ban specific users or content.

President Trump's goal with this executive order is to empower the Commerce Dept, FCC and FTC to selectively enforce and stretch around the restrictions of Section 230 to put the clamps on social media companies and force them to stop moderating their content in any way. Ultimately, Trump would like to "remove or totally change 230" — but for now, this is all he can do.

It's being done under the guise of protecting free speech, because Trump seemingly feels that Twitter, Facebook and Google are selectively censoring content from some political views (or individuals) and not others. Unfortunately for him, it isn't clear that the platforms are enforcing their moderation rules unevenly in any sort of malicious way. And in the case of Twitter "fact checking" the president's tweets, it didn't actually moderate, hide or remove them — and CEO Jack Dorsey has previously upheld that he does not plan to ban Trump from Twitter.

Thankfully, if you're a fan of free speech, this executive order doesn't have immediate ramifications.

Thankfully, if you're a fan of free and open speech, there are roadblocks to simply getting rid of Section 230 protections. An executive order is not a law — it's a directive from the president relating to existing laws and how government agencies should view or enforce those laws. In the case of this executive order, focus now shifts to the FCC, which to this point has no consensus aligning with Trump on Section 230 and generally has kept its hands off of Section 230 enforcement. The FCC primarily spends its time regulating the nation's broadband access and telecommunications infrastructure. FCC Commissioner Starks released the following statement regarding Trump's executive order:

The First Amendment and Section 230 remain the law of the land and control here. Our top priority should be connecting all Americans to high-quality, affordable broadband. The fight against COVID-19 has made closing the digital divide—and helping all Americans access education, work, and healthcare online—more critical than ever. We must keep our focus on that essential work.

The Commerce Dept and FTC may have more teeth when it comes to actually placing financial consequences on companies that don't do what the Trump administration wants. But there's a high likelihood that any action taken against companies by either group would hit a strong legal rebuttal. After all, Section 230 is the law, and that means in this case the existing law is on Twitter, Facebook and Google's side. It would take actual Congressional work to make changes to Section 230 itself — until that happens, I don't foresee any actual changes in the way these companies are operating regarding speech, moderation and content display. Techdirt's headline summed it up nicely: "Two Things To Understand About Trump's Executive Order On Social Media: (1) It's A Distraction (2) It's Legally Meaningless."

Lest you think this is purely a partisan issue, let me remind you Joe Biden has also called to revoke 230.

What the executive order does accomplish, of course, is put pen to paper on some sort of official governmental action showing Trump's distaste for these social media companies. And that can both score him some political points with his supporters, while potentially creating a chilling effect with companies that want to avoid the process of getting into a legal battle over Section 230.

And lest you think that this is purely a partisan issue, let me remind you that former Vice President Joe Biden has previously called for Section 230 to be "revoked, immediately." Biden's further quote on the matter states that Facebook "is propagating falsehoods they know to be false." Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Section 230 is a hotly-contested battleground, and a touchy one as it directly pertains to the government regulating free speech, which is of course protected in the U.S. under the First Amendment.

Not only do these large tech companies have their entire business models riding on whether they have legal protections from the third-party content they host on their platforms, but they also seem generally united philosophically on the matter. And that bodes well for smaller companies and non-social platforms, which are in many cases not in a position to fight the government legally and also still see the benefits of Section 230. And as users, we all generally come out better off when companies can host and moderate content as they see fit — and in turn we can freely choose which platforms we use.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

90 Comments
  • they goofed and now the shield falls
  • "they goofed and now the shield falls"
    Except that is not what is happening, nor will this change anything. Indeed, those disclaimers are still on his tweets, for example. Removing liability from Twitter just means Trump can try and sue them for defamation, but good luck finding a court that will side with that. And a federal court just yesterday ruled that Twitter (and Facebook) are not the equivalent of a "public function that amounts to state action", meaning they are not a public square ergo users are not subject to first amendment protection either. Further, removing 230 could have the reverse effect: Twitter may effectively start banning/policing all tweets that even come close to "crossing the line" since the would be legally liable for the content. That means we could actually see a real crackdown on political speech on Twitter and other social networks, including Trump's own tweets. This is simple chest thumping and pouting by one man whose base will be wowed. But, as usual, it's all smoke and nothing will change. It sure is enjoyable though to watch conservatives suddenly year for big government regulation of the internet after rolling back net neutrality <chef's kiss>. Of course, I don't expect his sort of logic and nuance to play well with people who blindly follow any political leader.
  • "Further, removing 230 could have the reverse effect: Twitter may effectively start banning/policing all tweets that even come close to "crossing the line" since the would be legally liable for the content. That means we could actually see a real crackdown on political speech on Twitter and other social networks, including Trump's own tweets." that describes social media heaven. If that's the end result then I am totally for what Trump is proposing!
  • So, you're for stifling speech of everyone. Neat, not sure you're going to get a lot of people agreeing with you. It's ironic you would prefer this route as it would mean Twitter would now be forced to delete Trump's tweets, instead of putting a label on them. That makes me think you really do not understand how sites can be both publishers and platforms (like Android Central), or what the ramifications of removing 230 would mean. You should really read the original Prodigy case that spurred the creation of 230, because right now, I can tell you haven't. It also won't happen, so there's that. You need legislation and the House is controlled by the dems. Again, this is chest thumping and frippery. Need proof? Nothing has changed since yesterday. Trump's EO is a paper tiger.
  • That's not what he is saying. If you remove the protection Twitter, and other social platforms have, from liability for what their users post, you must also acknowledge those entities have the authority, and incentice, to remove any post that may result in their libility. You can't have it both ways. Removing the protection in effect would make agressive editing essential. If you were liable for anything I posted on this site, you would, and should be able to, remove anything that would potentially cause you issues. Personally I think you should have that option already. Your site should have no obligation to forward any position you do not agree with, or find offensive. It's your site. The 1st Amendment says the Government cannot abridge those freedoms, not private entities. What is being promoted by the Executive Order is precisely what the 1st Amendment prohibits, Government intervention into the people's voice.
  • Are you saying that the shield is falling for the social media platforms? That isn't what's happening at all. Section 230 still gives them broad legal protection. An executive order cannot change that.
  • You have absolutely NO idea what you’re even writing about. Trump’s order allows the FCC to review and potentially redefine the language Congress established in 1996 that governs how, in this case, “bulletin board”-type services are to be treated. Twitter argued that since they are not a publisher but just a neutral “bulletin board” that allows free and open speech, they are exempt from laws that publishers typically are held accountable to—such as being sued, or held liable for libel, etc. Twitter abandoned their neutrality when they “fact-checked” one of Trump’s tweets—making them now an editorial content service. The FCC can now review this opinion and revoke Twitter’s exemption if they choose. Twitter is not a company that has special rules just because they are Twitter. Stick to Android news, Andrew, not writing misleading opinion pieces disguised as news when you clearly have ZERO clue to what you are talking about.
  • "The FCC can now review this opinion and revoke Twitter’s exemption if they choose." Gonna need a source on that one buddy. Literally every tech site is saying the opposite. Hmm who to believe.
  • You want me to post a link to the EXECUTIVE ORDER because you are too lazy to read it?!? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • "The FCC can now review this opinion and revoke Twitter’s exemption if they choose." That ... just isn't true. Section 230 is still the law. Twitter isn't "exempt" or have special treatment, it gets the same treatment as every other platform. The only way to change that is to get rid of Section 230. Also, this article is literally tagged as "opinion," not "news."
  • Your garbage, incorrect opinion is not rooted in any facts because you clearly don’t understand the executive order and you clearly bring a bias against the President foremost in your article and your headline. Android Central is clearly an opinion site, as any breathing person can deduce, so adding an “opinion” label is redundant. I think we know that this is not a serious “news” site. BTW—the article is also “clearly labeled” as having something to do with “Google” as well? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Trump's EO was a paper tiger, wasn't it? None of this will hold up in the courts and real legislation will be needed for any significant change. Trump's order has had no effect, it was hand waving for his supporters.
  • Trump wants to stop censorship through...censorship.
  • LMAO, 👆 what he said 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣
  • Gramps got his diaper bunched because because he's finally getting called out for blatantly lying. Took long enough.
  • He should've been banned from Twitter a long time ago.
  • Absolutely.. No question about it.
  • Wait... you’re arguing that Twitter has the right to free speech, and then say that Trump should be banned? What kind of moronic statement is this?!?
  • The truth matters. Disinformation by the President is dangerous.
  • Misinformation and lies from the masses is even more so.
  • "Twitter has the right to free speech, and then say that Trump should be banned? What kind of moronic statement is this?!?"
    Companies and corporations have protections under the constitution and yes, free speech. You as a "creator" on their network, do not. A more concreate example: Android Central can publish an article expressing disagreement with the president of the US. The US gov't cannot tell us to take it down, sue us, or take any action against us for posting. We have free speech protection as a publisher. Conversely, if we publish anything against someone that is defamatory, we can be sued. In our comments section, however, no one is entitled to 1st amendment protection. You are using our platform and you agreed to our TOS, which states we may delete, moderate, or ban users for effectively whatever reason we feel like. And you can't do a single thing about it. But the good news is we (or you) cannot be sued either for saying something defamatory in comments. We are both a publisher and a platform. So is Twitter, so is Facebook. If you don't like that, you can try and change the law. Trump can't do that, you need Congress. Trump's EO changed nothing. But if you take away platform protections, on a site like Android Central we'd just do a simple thing: turn off all comments, because we'd be liable now for everything that is said here. Same would happen with Twitter, who would be now forced to delete Trump's tweets (because Twitter itself could be sued for what others on its network are saying). This conundrum, btw, is the whole reason 230 was made. Read this history of the Prodigy case.
  • "But the good news is we (or you) cannot be sued either for saying something defamatory in comments." Yes I can. I can absolutely be held accountable for what I say on your platform. You can't.
  • "Unfortunately for him, it isn't clear that the platforms are enforcing their moderation rules unevenly in any sort of malicious way. " Bullsh*t. There's plenty of evidence, including testimonials from ex-employees, that the major corporations in America (specially Facebook, Twitter and Google) have been entertained censoring and persecuting right-wing employees, personalities and politicians, in adherence to their leftist belief that "freedom of speech is sacred as long as you're saying things I agree with". "And in the case of Twitter "fact checking" the president's tweets, it didn't actually moderate, hide or remove them" No...it was a direct interference with what he wrote under the excuse of "fact checking". Allowing Twitter to manipulate what someone wrote without their consent has a name. And it's not fact checking. "The FCC primarily spends its time regulating the nation's broadband access and telecommunications infrastructure." The FCC also acts as America's Censorship Board, making sure "morals" and "decency" isn't violated by TV, films or radio. And it's a pretty big part of their job. ___ Trump should have been more draconian and proclaimed social media platforms all as public forums, thus removing altogether from them the ability to even evoke their quality of "private businesses" to violate 1st Amendment rights.
    They want to not be liable towards what their users write? OK. Then they lose any censorship powers they still have in the US to silence anyone over what they say. But the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google can't keep having the cake and eating it by censoring whatever is politically convenient to them while not being held responsible at the same time.
  • None of this will hold up in a court and it remains to be seen if any FCC or FTC investigation, were one to be launched, would prove the allegations. Right now, that is all there is, allegations. Nothing has been proven.
    "Trump should have been more draconian and proclaimed social media platforms all as public forums"
    A federal court just yesterday rejected this defense. And before you play the victim card there too (what's with that lately, conservatives are looking so weak as victims all the time) "Two of the three judges on the appellate panel were appointed by Republican presidents and one by a Democrat. The district court judge who dismissed the case, Trevor McFadden, was appointed by Trump." You sound like you want a dictator, not a president. Also, LOL at conservatives wanting to effectively nationalize a publicly traded company because their cult leader had his feelings hurt over a disclaimer. So much for bashing big government or worshiping at the altar of private property. It's suddenly inconvenient.
    "But the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Google can't keep having the cake and eating it by censoring whatever is politically convenient to them while not being held responsible at the same time."
    Yes, they can and should. Just like how I can delete your comment with no good reason either. That's how private property works. This isn't a 1st amendment protected public square, and it never will be.
  • Man, for how much conservatives and right-wingers are supposedly being silenced, they do like to talk and scream and ***** a lot and seem to NEVER shut up. ""freedom of speech is sacred as long as you're saying things I agree with". Why is it so many people confuse freedom of speech with freedom from consequences? Please learn the difference.
  • This partially false by Andrew Martonik. He clearly doesn't understand the issue, nor the LAW. No. There are loopholes to the currently liability protections and they need to be closed. They will STILL have their protection, but they can no longer abuse it, take advantage of it, or hide behind it. What Twitter has done is clearly bad and gives them too much power. It has to be closed. Only LEFTIST-thinking socialists will not want this. Being that Android Central is from that place.....I am not surprised. Let's face it, Android Central has been wrong about so many political-social issues, like Net Neutrality and such. Andrew Martonik, from Android Central is clearly wrong again,
  • You have made no counter argument, just rambled and ranted.
    "What Twitter has done is clearly bad and gives them too much power."
    It's a private company and you agree to their TOS before using it. Who are you - or anyone - who is not a shareholder to tell them what to do in how they run the company and service? This isn't China or North Korea. You don't like Twitter's rules, don't use the service. That's how free markets work. Go start up an alternative to Twitter, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and do it better.
  • You say that I made false statements ... but then didn't actually refute them or explain why they are false.
  • Somebody else did though, and you didn't respond to them.
  • You didn't actually allege that anything he actually said was false, which is usually the first sign you're not arguing in good faith. And no, what Twitter has done is FAR too little, FAR too late. This man should've been de-platformed around the same time Alex Jones was, and for very similar reasons. His speech is dangerous, and he would be carried out of any public square in a straight jacket if he weren't a reality TV star with a whole bunch of inherited wealth. Twitter doesn't have to put up with it and it's been irresponsible of them to do it as long as they have. I personally think all politicians should be thrown off social media since their job is to legislate, not Twitter. I too, however, believe that 230 protections should be abolished for social media because social media is a cancer that brings nothing but ill to mankind as a whole and should be regulated out of existence. It's like heroine but worse because heroine never helps Nazis recruit members.
  • Wait, so the leftist thinking SOCIALISTS are the ones who don't want the government interfering with a private business? The mental gymnastics here is just amazing.
  • Exactly. These 20-something Silicon Valley idiots fell off their intellectual pommel bars years ago.
  • Google, Facebook, and Twitter are clearly PUBLISHERS, not platforms, and should be stripped of their legal protections.
  • False and your reasoning is dubious, but recognizable as it is being parroted in right-wing media. Even our site here is both a publisher and and a platform. If we publish an article, we are liable and can be sued for defamation as a publisher. If you write something in our comments that is illegal (or defamatory), we cannot be sued or held liable. Conversely, we can delete, moderate, and edit your posts without being liable too, as a platform. Or you can try and sue us and see how far you get. What did Twitter publish that is defamatory against Trump that they should be legally liable for? If you want to claim that adding a disclaimer to his tweet is defamatory, and you want to sue under them being a "publisher", go for it. It won't hold up in a court. But say you get your way: Twitter is now a publisher. The ramifications of that means they are liable for EVERYTHING on Twitter. Guess what that means? More censoring, deleting, and regulating of content, not less. Because without legal protection they can be sued for anything anyone says, including Trump. Have you really thought this through?
  • No, Daniel, you are wrong. Nothing at all has changed. NOTHING. All Trump did was allow the FCC to review the 1996 law and either change the language of section 230 or re-interpret Twitter’s role as a publisher or, really, do nothing. Twitter can then either react and state that, yes, they are indeed a publisher and will choose to be governed as such, or say no, they don’t want to be, or do nothing. Either way, you are being unbelievably hysterical over something that hasn’t happened and falling in line with those pretending that there are victims in this that must be avenged, and there are powerful people trying to stifle free speech. Chill out, brother, and really think this through.
  • No, what I am saying is Trump's EO will have no effect. The proof is already here. So I ask, what did this EO actually do to solve this "problem?" Nothing will happen with Twitter and they will continue to do what they have been doing. If you don't like, you can leave Twitter. That's how the free market and private property works. You fail to understand Twitter, like us, can be both a publisher and a platform. Same with Facebook. Were Twitter a publisher for everyone's tweets, they would just ban/delete tweets including Trump's for anything remotely that makes them liable. That won't happen.
  • Why because you say so? Sounds very fascist/communist like
  • I'm so tired of this clown. he spews lies and hate on Twitter for years and then when Twitter finally flags him with a couple fact checks he loses what's left of his dark twisted mind. Can't wait til the federal marshals drag him kicking and screaming from the White House next year. (cuz you KNOW he won't go willingly w any class or dignity.) 🤡
  • Half the country felt that way about Obama, half still feels that way about Clinton. Clearly it's not as bad as either side ever makes it out to be.
  • Yea, Trump and Obama are so much alike. Good point,
  • Trumptard and Obama are NOTHING alike, Obama was a decent human being, while Trump is a racist redneck bully.
  • Another day in the life of the raging dumpster fire formerly known as the United States of America.
  • It's real simple. Would it be OK for Twitter to censor, ban, or label anything Obama, Clinton, Biden or anyone else says as false or misleading. The answer of course is no. It goes both ways. It is a platform for speech in a country that is supposed to support free speech. Free speech means people have a right to say things that may be wrong, things you may disagree with, things that might bother you, and yes, even lie. It's up to each individual to decide what they want to read or believe. The right to free speech doesn't only apply to speech you like or agree with, that type of speech doesn't need protected. It applies to the things that may be differing opinions, untrue, and even offensive because that is what needs protecting. Twitter is a company, they have the right to do what they want. But right now they are being protected by laws as a platform, not a company. If they want to censor things they don't like or agree with or try to push one narrative over another that's their right, but they should then lose their platform protection. Can't have it both ways. As far as the headline stating thankfully for everyone. Why is it so hard for people on 1 side to realize not everyone is the same as you? I completely disagree with what Twitter Facebook, and YouTube are currently doing with censoring or removing posts. I don't care who it is or what side it's on. It is not their job to decide what is and isn't true nor is it their job to push certain narratives. This applies to Android Central and all other tech sites. It's not your job. Not surprising though and things like this headline and the article are perfect examples of why someone who used to visit here and Windows Central literally on an hourly basis every day, now only visits once or twice a week.
  • And this is what's frustrating. It's either YOU MUST AGREE or you're a N@zi. Personally I don't care what you do go right ahead. When I and people like me have a differing point and are banished that's when I have a BIG problem. Somehow this is lost to them. To all that are saying this will get tossed don't be too sure. All these companies have had blatant violations of what 230 was supposed to do. If anything The WH and the DOJ want this fight. You just might see something you will hate more.
  • What opinion of yours that you hold so dearly is constantly being banished on social media?
  • Anything that doesn't fall in line with the loon Left that's supported by these companies for one. Never mind the fact that if I would have a different approach to what's going on with this pandemic. I'd be censured and branded something of a charlatan. Meanwhile the official Rightspeak has been shown to be horribly wrong.
  • I'll try again, what specific opinions of yours get banished on social media? What are you no longer allowed to share that you desperately want to?
  • At this point it could be anything. That's the problem. I personally haven't had this happen to me. I known many that have. It's the sword of Damocles that's hanging over all of us.
  • So you don't actually have an example of your conservative opinions being banished on social media? Interesting......
  • "I known many that have."
    This victimhood thing is really not a strong look.
  • Go tell that to the Left they've been the Slay Queens of it for Years. That Light you see at the end of the Tunnel is the On Coming Train.
  • How does this excuse those on the right, exactly? Whataboutism is old.
  • Censor?? Did Twitter remove the post? NO. They added a note on it offering fact check. that is NOT censorship. Trump's original, idiotic lies still remain in all their 'glory'. As for the other presidents you mentioned, they had some sense of shame governing their actions. They also had a measure of respect for the office they held so that question is moot.
  • "Would it be OK for Twitter to censor, ban, or label anything Obama, Clinton, Biden or anyone else says as false or misleading" Yes, that was easy. Makes the rest of your post moot.
  • "Would it be OK for Twitter to censor, ban, or label anything Obama, Clinton, Biden or anyone else says as false or misleading." Yes, of course. Twitter has just as much of an ability to fact check, hide or ban anything any public official says if it breaks their terms of service. And I say "thankfully for everyone" because NOBODY should want the president, any president at any time, to be able to sign an executive order with no oversight or balance of power that changes what you can say online. The First Amendment is wonderful because it limits the government's ability to make laws limiting your speech — I don't ever want that to change. I don't care who is president or whether I personally like them, I don't want any president to have that sort of power. What you don't seem to understand is that there is a clear difference between what a company, like Twitter, does and what a government does. You can disagree with Twitter's stance, and I recognize that a ton of people do, but that doesn't mean we should let the government walk in and attempt to stifle free speech. The same reason why you feel free to come to this comments section and say whatever is on your mind, and have us leave it here for others to see, is the same reason why Twitter should be able to show or not show any content on its website. I don't want that freedom to go away.
  • First you really don't understand what you are talking about. Second who made them arbiter of what is truthful? This was never supposed to be their job. You're confusing what a private company can do with that of a government monopoly. Twitter and the like are given the public square with restrictions. Just as the telephone carriers are restricted in how people use their service. They're not allowed to stop your service because they heard you say something they disagreed with. This was what 230 was supposed to be. In exchange for not getting sued the content on their service was to be left alone. Some how this escapes you. Now does this mean anything goes? No it never has. That said what is being censured doesn't even come close. Oh BTW Hate Speech as some would call it is still protected speech under the first amendment. This applies to these companies too.
  • "Oh BTW Hate Speech as some would call it is still protected speech under the first amendment. This applies to these companies too." JFC no it doesn't. Twitter, Google, Android Central, whoever has every right to sensor hate speech on their platform. You as a consumer have every right to take your business elsewhere. How do people still get this wrong?
  • At that point you are not a platform you are the publisher. That's what you don't get.
  • The courts and laws say otherwise. That's what you don't get. Do you think Android Central should allow porn to be shown in the comments? Or should they sensor that out? It seems you want to destroy the internet over a temper tantrum. Figures.
  • And that's why this will go to the supreme court for a ruling. Don't be so confident. I know the Twitter and Facebook aren't. As far as AC is concerned they are not and never have been a platform. From the start they've been a news aggregator and opinion source. They allow forums that are moderated. We all know that and are fine with that. Twitter and the like were not set up that way that's the issue. Good try at a straw man though.
  • "And that's why this will go to the supreme court for a ruling. " Lol no it won't. Nothing will change because the SC isn't a big baby about these things. This is Trump throwing a temper tantrum and throwing a bone to his base that will eat it up. The FCC can't do anything about it either. There are two-plus decades of clear court precedent around the meaning of Section 230 that the EO completely ignores. But the executive branch is bound by it whether Trump likes it or not, and has no power to change it. BTW still waiting for your example.
  • I'm still waiting for you to make sense. I got time to wait.
  • "Second who made them arbiter of what is truthful? "
    It's a PRIVATE network, not a public property. Just like editors here are the "arbiter of what is truthful" or decent, or respectful on this site. If you say something that I find out of bounds I'll decide if I should delete or edit your post, or even ban you. You agreed to that when you signed up too! That's how this all works. If you don't like it, you leave Twitter. If you don't like how WE moderate comments, you leave Android Central.
    " Twitter and the like are given the public square with restrictions." "They're not allowed to stop your service because they heard you say something they disagreed with."
    A federal court just this week rejected the "public square" argument. You have no 1st amendment protections here, on twitter, or facebook. None. Which means...
    "Oh BTW Hate Speech as some would call it is still protected speech under the first amendment. This applies to these companies too."
    ...Is false. The courts have repeatedly rejected this line of argument. You should really read up on this as well as the distinction between a private company's TOS vs. public utility. Now, if you want to nationalize Twitter, that's a different argument. Trump is not making it and boy, would it be hilarious to hear conservatives request it, but go for it.
  • Well we see things from very different places. Gonna be a fun ride from here on out. I'm getting my popcorn ready. The meltdown will be glorious.
  • Twitter should ban the mofo. Labeling one of Trump's 18,000 lies doesn't seem like enough. And it's ridiculous he's focusing on social media with 103,000 dead and counting on his watch.
  • The US political system has been corrupt for years and social media has helped cover it with misinformation and lies. I am an Australian and have been shaking my head at the corruption from the Clinton and Obama years and thought finally someone who isn't a lying and deceving politician. Then Trump got hammered by the corrupt politicians making up the lies and corruption. I don't watch mainstream media because Ive seen contradiction after contradiction and blatant lies from the media. I admire you Daniel but I thought you would have a higher emotional intelligence and not buy into the BS.
  • If you guys had a little more political honesty, maybe I could get behind what you're saying. But your insistance that only the left is corrupt and dishonest reveals your true motive, unfortunately. Yeah, every politician is corrupt except the one in your camp. Really? We're suppose to buy that crap? I'm still waiting for one person, one person, to admit they blindly believe what suits their narrative and advances their beliefs in their "side". Because honestly, that's what I see, no matter the front people put on. Everyone has gone to their corners and will do and say whatever it takes to keep their side in power and will not budge no matter what. Except people are cowards. They will never fess up. Instead we get muddy waters on both sides.
  • Obama served 8 years and I'm struggling to recall what scandals there were in that time. he was dubbed 'No drama Obama' for a reason. Trump has had how many ppl serve jail time already, 5 so far? Can you expand on Obama admin being corrupt w specific examples? The notion of comparing Obama and Trump in this regard is just laughable. Every month of Trump's 3+ yrs has had, it seems, some unseemly or corrupt activity. hard to even know where to begin in cataloging it all.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Obama_administration_controversies
  • LOL that page list things like Deepwater Horizon spill and this "the Crumb and Get It bakery incident" You are embarrassing yourself.
  • Obama was the most corrupt person to ever sit in the Oval Office. His scandals are too numerous to count. If you seriously think he was scandal-free, you really need to do some research.
  • Yawn, there wasn't anything corrupt about Obama, you right wing loon is that what Trump told you? GTFO with your right wing bias you dumb trumptard.
  • I agree. Look no further than the Flynn fiasco he clearly had knowledge of on his way out the door
  • @Brett122 you're another right wing moron, Obama and Clinton were not perfect but Trump is on another level of stupid, he's trying to punish Twitter and the other social media platforms for block his hate speeches which in this case is inciting violence. At least Obama and Clinton were not a bunch of bullying racist rednecks.
  • Trump should be careful what he wishes for. Great NY Times quote, "Without certain liability protections, companies like Twitter would have to be more aggressive about policing messages that press the boundaries — like the president’s."
  • That is of course the irony. As soon as the protections of Section 230 go away, platforms will be even more scared of repercussions and will go way overboard on moderation and banning accounts.
  • Or they will stay exactly where they are right now, leaving the protections they enjoy in place and knock off their behavior. I don’t understand what you keep arguing for or against here, Drew.
  • I avoid Twitter but they have my full support on this one. Many of his tweets make false or dangerous statements and encourage division and violence.
  • But he encourages the diversion as it takes attention away from his disastrous handling of the pandemic in the US.
  • Wow guys. I thought I was on Gizmodo when I saw the headline. It's a good thing to discuss the issues of our day, but the headline clearly demonstrates a political bias. How about we leave the politics to political sites (and Gizmodo) and stick to Android news, etc.?
  • I used to like this site when they just stuck to android phones
  • Trump is a moron where's that "wall" he promised to build between Mexico and the US?
  • I used to like this site before they became nothing but an advertisement. If they labeled this article an opinion, why don't they man up and label 'reviews' on here for what they really are - paid advertising
  • Completely agree on this one. The podcast is getting rough, too, with Jerry’s recent self-righteous blister. No one can escape this ignorant political crap ANYWHERE anymore.
  • I don't know anyone who would be fine with being censored or "fact checked" by someone who overtly hates them. Political differences will always be around, but if you're siding with censorship, then you are admitting that you're okay with forfeiting a primary ideal on which freedom is sustained. Write about whatever you like, Andrew. I have enjoyed many of your tech articles; but I'll probably skip any future political opinion pieces because I visit here for the love of tech.
  • I'm all for freedom of speech but not if it incites violence like the orange **** did.
  • Tech news without politics would be nice.
  • It would be but the US elected the most polarising president in it's history and is attacking social media platforms for what? Because they don't agree with his racist agenda.
  • Beno clearly watches CNN which has evolved into the Fake News Network. Someone should fact check them.
  • Getting back to my original point. You need to look no further than the story today on where to watch the SpaceX launch to see it's really just an ad for a VPN. Android Central lures people to read what they think will be an article and it turns out just to be an advertisement