Summary: Trump Issues Executive Order On Social Media Censorship, And It’s Excellent

President Trump issues executive order on “Preventing Online Censorship”

On Thursday, President Trump delivered on a long overdue promise to get a grip on the censorship of tech oligarchs on major platforms such as Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. After months of promising to “monitor the situation” it seems that Twitter’s expedition into directly censoring the president’s tweets has triggered a response. So, on behalf of America, thank you for screwing up so badly, Jack Dorsey.

The entirety of the order may be read here, but a more digestible breakdown of the main points may be read below. In brief, the president is utilizing the full force of the executive branch and all tools at his disposal to combat the stifling threat of censorship on social media platforms. He’s ordered the Attorney General, Secretary of Commerce, the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and all other government department and agencies to take action.

Where a so-called platform (defined below) oversteps its authority to remove harmful content without liability, he’s seeking out methods to strip them of their Section 230 immunity. Where government agencies are spending taxpayer dollars on such platforms, he’s demanding that an assessment be made as to whether they should continue marketing their programs and thereby funding the tech oligarchs in the process. He’s even dispatching the Attorney General to determine if any state laws can be used to combat the censorship occurring on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

Twitter recently crossed a very bold line by adding fact checking disclaimers to the president’s tweets about mail-in voting. As a result, President Trump promised to take action. And today, he followed through.

The executive order is the best first step that Americans could hope for

“This practice [of online censorship] is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.”

The order begins by outlining the Trump Administration’s philosophy on free speech as a necessity for involvement in the republic and the dangerous influence of the consolidation of internet traffic to a select few number of sites. “In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression,” it reads, “we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand pick the speech that Americans may access on the internet.”

Arguing that the platforms are the modern equivalent to the “public square,” Trump’s order states the platforms have deceptively gone beyond their published Terms of Service agreements in a “manner that clearly reflects political bias.”

Meanwhile, it continues, despite creating “groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans’ speech here at home,” these platforms are often caught doing the bidding of foreign governments, such as the Communist Party in China. Just recently, YouTube was caught censoring any criticism of the Communist Party’s internet propaganda arm, deleting tens of thousands of comments and videos that criticized the regime, as District Herald reported.

Without referring to a specific American business by name, the order clearly refers to Alphabet (Google and YouTube’s parent company), when it references a tech company that “also established research partnerships in China that provide direct benefits to the Chinese military.”

So what sort of policy does the Executive Order actually initiate? Read on!

It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet.

Trump’s order argues that social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube have violated their immunity from liability under Sec. 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides immunity from liability to online platforms that do not engage in editorializing or content creation of their own. The theory is simple: if you set up a website and allow people to come and post their own viewpoints, any illegal content posted by them—such as threats or pornography depicting minors—can’t be used to hold them criminally liable.

The rule was issued to allow these platforms to remove harmful content without themselves being deemed a publisher and was issued to address “early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a ‘publisher’ of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation.”

“but in reality [social media platforms] use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.”

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In reality, however, social media sites have used this limited immunity from liability to shield themselves while taking deceptive action to remove political speech they find unfavorable. These so-called platforms are, in effect, “far from acting in “good faith” to remove objectionable content,” and instead have been stifling viewpoints with which they disagree.

Trump Argues That Twitter, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram should lose their limited liability shield due to deceptive bad behavior:

“When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not meet the criteria of subparagraph (c)(2)(A), it is engaged in editorial conduct. It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.”

The Executive Order on censorship commands the Attorney General and Secretary of Commerce to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission

“In addition, within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Attorney General, and acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), shall file a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations.”

“Determine the circumstances under which a provider of an interactive computer service that restricts access to content in a manner not specifically protected by subparagraph (c)(2)(A) may also not be able to claim protection under subparagraph (c)(1), which merely states that a provider shall not be treated as a publisher or speaker for making third-party content available and does not address the provider’s responsibility for its own editorial decisions”

“[Define] the conditions under which an action restricting access to or availability of material is not ‘taken in good faith’.”

Trump’s order also declares an intention to cease spending money for advertising on these platforms

The head of each executive department and agency (agency) shall review its agency’s Federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms. Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their receipt of advertising dollars. Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.

It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech.

Mobilizing the Federal Trade Commission to see if social media sites have been misrepresenting themselves to their users and hurting the bottom line of other American businesses in the process

“The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code. Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by entities covered by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.”

He is authorizing the Attorney General to review and assist in the enforcement of applicable state laws that prohibit platforms from engaging in unfair practices

“The Attorney General shall establish a working group regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The working group shall also develop model legislation for consideration by legislatures in States where existing statutes do not protect Americans from such unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The working group shall invite State Attorneys General for discussion and consultation, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.”

It orders the Attorney General to develop proposals for Federal legislation that will deter further acts of online censorship

“The Attorney General shall develop a proposal for Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives of this order.”

He really was monitoring the situation, here’s a breakdown of deceptive practices the order is looking into:

(i) increased scrutiny of users based on the other users they choose to follow, or their interactions with other users;

(ii) algorithms to suppress content or users based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint;

(iii) differential policies allowing for otherwise impermissible behavior, when committed by accounts associated with the Chinese Communist Party or other anti-democratic associations or governments;

(iv) reliance on third-party entities, including contractors, media
organizations, and individuals, with indicia of bias to review content; and

(v) acts that limit the ability of users with particular viewpoints to earn money on the platform compared with other users similarly situated.

You have ONE WEEK left to tell Twitter what you think about upcoming policy changes

Earlier today, Nationalist Review reported on Twitter’s new “Dehumanization Policy” development and how it will change the face of conversations on Twitter and possibly drastically reduce the number of active users on the social network:

Remember the #PunchANazi trend, liberals? Or, does anyone enjoy a good Pinochet meme? Those would be strictly prohibited. For that matter, even when not describing Republicans as Nazis, the Nazis themselves constitute an identifiable group, do they not? And liberals are ever adding to their long list of words the dehumanize criminals, be they illegal aliens (no, no, no human is illegal!) or rampaging thug (thug is code word!), liberals will find a way to take issue and curb your speech.

The policy, if enacted, will deter users from making honest statements about important current events and very likely punish users that speak their mind. That’s because Twitter is set on removing any speech that harshly compares a group to an animal or virus or machine.

That means if you want to refer to MS-13 as an animal, illegal immigrants as parasites, or Mark Zuckerberg as a robot, you had better find yourself another platform to do it on. Unless, that is, Twitter’s userbase is able to convince CEO Jack Dorsey to go another route.

You have one week to go on record and tell Twitter how you feel about this policy change:

Twitter is currently taking public comment on their policy measures.

  • You do not need an active twitter account
  • You do not need to give them your email or allow them to contact you in any way
  • You simply have to reply to a few prompts asking about the potential policy change

Please consider taking a few minutes to head over to Twitter’s site and respond to the short questions they provide at the bottom of their post. Tell them in no uncertain terms that you are not a fan of tech censorship and that you can block people you disagree with. Be the adult in the room.

The link to the relevant Twitter blog post with the survey attached at the bottom can be found here.

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Twitter announces extremely restrictive speech rules with new “Dehumanization Policy”

Twitter plans to ban users that tweet “dehumanizing” statements about any “identifiable group” even when no specific person is targeted, say a company blog post published by a top ranking Twitter employee.

You may not dehumanize anyone based on membership in an identifiable group, as this speech can lead to offline harm.

For instance, if one were to criticize Islam in a manner that was deemed dehumanizing, they would be subject to a penalty even if they were not talking about any particular Muslim. The Twitter Safety Team emphasized this in a tweet:

Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president for Trust & Safety, and Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s Legal, Policy, and Trust & Safety lead published the blog post announcing this policy shift. Unfortunately, neither of these two thought things through very far.

Let’s examine the potential consequences of enacting this policy:

The policy itself is either impossible to administer fairly or a platform-crippling decision. If Twitter were to implement this new rule and truly consider every “identifiable group” equal, a lot of political rhetoric in America will be off-limits.

Here’s how they define such groups:

Identifiable group: Any group of people that can be distinguished by their shared characteristics such as their race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, serious disease, occupation, political beliefs, location, or social practices.

Remember the #PunchANazi trend, liberals? Or, does anyone enjoy a good Pinochet meme? Those would be strictly prohibited. For that matter, even when not describing Republicans as Nazis, the Nazis themselves constitute an identifiable group, do they not? And liberals are ever adding to their long list of words the dehumanize criminals, be they illegal aliens (no, no, no human is illegal!) or rampaging thug (thug is code word!), liberals will find a way to take issue and curb your speech.

Even MS-13 is an identifiable group by Twitter’s standards. Better watch out Mr. President! 

Anyways, you see the problem here, right? It gets worse.

Their definition for “dehumanization” practically makes harsh criticism impossible:

Dehumanization: Language that treats others as less than human. Dehumanization can occur when others are denied of human qualities (animalistic dehumanization) or when others are denied of their human nature (mechanistic dehumanization). Examples can include comparing groups to animals and viruses (animalistic), or reducing groups to a tool for some other purpose (mechanistic).

Just to go on record here, I have already protested to Twitter over the banning of Mark Zuckerberg robot tweets (mechanistic dehumanization). But seriously folks, I can’t tell you the number of times I have referred to Democrat politicians as “parasites” for some action of theirs that was genuinely parasitic. Under these rules, I’m a dead man walking if I don’t scrub my Twitter!

While civility is certainly an ideal worth aiming for, sometimes it is quite difficult to politely describe the most malevolent actors in our political circus. When these men and women truly behave in an inhumane, or, excuse me, an in-human manner, why must we refrain from commenting with distaste commensurate with their degree of barbarism? The suggestion that we shouldn’t respond in-kind is laughable!

As for the examples of bad behavior provided by Twitter…

Before we wrap this up, let’s turn out attention to just one last detail in the madness, the first example Twitter posted:

Twitter is unclear about which part of this tweet is the offending portion and that might be done intentionally to provide them the most room to work with later when adjudicating reports.

This is a major problem since the first sentence is a necessary component to political speech. Sovereign peoples must be able to discuss foreign groups and determine whether or not they have any interest in integrating them into their society. To be able to express that you do not want X to enter your nation is perhaps the most basic principle of nationhood.

Further, if it is just the latter statement that matters, the animalistic portion, Twitter should clarify this immediately.  Unfortunately, they’ve already set a precedent for how to handle tweets discussing Islam in the past, so this really doesn’t need much clarification.

It was President Trump’s retweeting of a Britain First leader’s tweet that resulted in her account being terminated for hate speech. She merely criticized Islam broadly and posted videos to support her argument—not that the media afforded her fair treatment, of course.

Considering these details, I can only assume that this decision will either blow up in Twitter’s face as an unmanageable disaster, or be applied so unjustly that things are essentially business as usual with an extra dose of purging.

Twitter has cast its die

Twitter has been under fire from multiple fronts as all sides of the political spectrum have been scrutinizing the behavior of the tech giant’s handling of content posted on their platform. While conservatives have reasonably requested that Twitter simply keep their hands off any content that is lawful in the region that it was posted in, liberals have been actively pressuring the micro-blogging platform to flex its private property prerogative and further restrict the statements that it allows users to make.

Now that Twitter is intending to cave to leftist reactionaries, the future of the platform is uncertain.

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Silicon oligarchs take hits following censorship scrutiny and trade war rumors

The Pain Is Far From Over

Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter all took hits at the stock market today and Microsoft was quick to join them during after market trading.

Click for full size.

Perhaps the most hurt by reaction from the market is Twitter.  At the end of August the micro-blogging platform released poor quarterly results and Twitter crashed by 25% in response.  Now, this additional bad news might force tech giants to modify their behavior whether they’d like to or not.

This market response comes just one day after a controversial meeting where high ranking executives from Facebook and Twitter were grilled on Capitol Hill. Google refused to send an executive and were left out of the conversation as a result.

Lawmakers opened the hearing with two main partisan concerns in mind. Democrat members of the committee focused on the their ever present bogeyman, Russia, and any potential foreign interference.

Their Republican counterparts were more worried about how the American people were being mistreated by tech giants that have been plagued by suspicions of bias and the conservative lawmakers brought hard evidence of unfair treatment.

Of particular concern to Republicans was the “mishandling” of suspensions under CEO Jack Dorsey’s Twitter.

Jeong was not only allowed to continue posting anti-white racist remarks about white people on Twitter, but executives hired by Jack Dorsey verified her.

Rep Markwayne Mullin (R-OK2) made waves just by reading the tweets of anti-white New York Times journalist Sarah Jeong.

Jeong rose to infamy when her bigoted commentary was discovered and peer journalists, the New York Times, and other prominent leftists all supported her speech.

Give it a listen:

Twitter verifies anti-white accounts while banning white conservatives that lightly criticize Islam

Jeong was not only allowed to continue posting anti-white racist remarks on Twitter, but executives hired by Jack Dorsey verified her. Verification on Twitter is seen as a badge of authority and Twitter executives have used their power to strip controversial conservatives of verification.

A perfect example of this bias can be observed in the handling of Milo Yiannopoulos‘ account.  The gay British conservative lost his verification after he dared to criticize the lead actress in a Ghostbusters reboot. What Jeong said was far worse than anything that was tweeted out by Milo.

This policy position cannot last and here’s why:

It seems that Twitter has made it a policy to reward anti-white and anti-conservative behavior while stamping out any dissident viewpoints from the conservative coalition with the heaviest of hands and harshest of penalties.

And with the reality that the internet is maturing, social media companies will be forced to recognize the impossible to ignore: they cannot continue to alienate their user-base while relying on the large growth rate of previous years.

Most of mankind has discovered social media. Its no longer a game of attracting new users but one of maintaining their numbers and attracting users on other platforms to join them.

That doesn’t mean that Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms will be put against each other in a kill-or-be-killed scenario. But it does mean that they will have to specialize significantly.

As to whether the consumer is hoping for a platform that specializes in the censorship of conservatives and biased reporting of yesteryear’s media, one need only consider the ratings of cable networks or take a quick gander at Nike’s recent blunder–people are sick of being told what to say and how to think.

So if Twitter continues to make this their modus operandi it’s safe to say that their days are quite numbered.