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Home News Thankfully, Trump's misguided attack on social networks faces roadblocks

Thankfully, Trump’s misguided attack on social networks faces roadblocks


The law currently protects media platforms, and it’s going to take a whole lot more than this order to change that.

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.


How to do homework: 6 expert tips and tricks

Your parents will probably say that in their days, homework was very difficult, but modern students have more homework than ever before. Homework should not turn into torment. Learn to set up a schedule for assignments, organize the learning process correctly, find out if you need help, and it will become much easier to do. In addition, we are ready to reveal some secrets that will definitely help you.Homework Should Become a HabitDoing homework should be as natural as brushing your teeth or making your bed. It is necessary to form this pattern from the freshman year or better from high school. It is advisable that you do your homework at the same time every day and have some kind of ritual preceded to it. For example, turning on a table lamp or folding notebooks on a table. The brain will get used to this routine and will tune in to study as soon as the ritual begins. When homework becomes not a choice, but a habit, the likelihood that you put it off for later becomes less possible.Put your Mobile Away and Disconnect from Social NetworksNothing distracts from homework like instant messengers, mobile games, and other “gifts” of a smartphone. Set aside your mobile as far as possible and set the Do Not Disturb mode. However, just in case, make a list of contacts who can reach you even in the midst of preparing for a math test. If you are performing a task on a computer, develop the habit of disconnecting from all social networks.Ask for Help if you Really Need itMistakes and difficulties in doing homework – this is natural and even useful. If you understand that you cannot cope with the task, seek help. You can interact with other students or friends who understand the subject better than you, so you create a support network around you. In addition, one can turn to the appropriate services. You just have to write “do my programming homework” or any other subject, and professionals will do everything for you. You also may ask them for explanations, so you could do it yourself next time.If Possible, Get Rid of DistractionsHide the phone, turn off the computer, and surround yourself with silence. If all your attention is focused only on homework, it will be much easier for you to cope with it, because your brain does not have to switch between tasks.Pupils often try to do their homework together with other things: watch TV, listen to the radio, chat with someone on the Internet. It will be much more convenient for you to do these things after you finish doing homework, and it will take much less time to do your homework if you are not distracted.View news feeds on social networks only during breaks – not before and after them. Use these distractions as a reward rather than a sedative.Download the Planner-App to your SmartphoneIt will be much easier for you to complete tasks if you have the entire list with deadlines in one place. In this regard, modern technology can provide a huge service. Some planner applications give bonus points or badges for completing goals, and although these are just virtual bonuses, the brain perceives them as very real, which increases your productivity. Do not believe me? Just download such an application and see for yourself. There are a lot of such applications now, there are paid ones, there are free ones and you can download them on absolutely any operating system.The Maximum Concentration of Attention is Achieved through a Constant Change in ActivitiesIn elementary school, a child can concentrate for at most 5 minutes. In the middle and senior – 10 minutes. To make learning more productive, students need to regularly change activities. The maximum concentration is achieved by changing intellectual and physical activity. In short breaks between rounds of studying, you should have a full rest. You can jump, run, squat. You can sing a song – it perfectly relieves stress and helps to switch.Summing upThe discussion around homework always remains inexhaustible. There will always be “easy” and “difficult” homework, however, if you understand the principle of its implementation it will cease to be torture for you. Also, be sure to try our tips in action, we are sure that they will help you.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

This $12 magnetic phone holder is also a seat belt cutter and glass breaker

We’ve seen our fair share of car mounts and docks over the years with various features and design choices. And as much as they’re each unique, they’re all pretty much the same, too. It’s kind of hard to make a phone holder sexy or compelling, right? Well, the Stinger might have something to say about that.A one-of-a-kind patented product, the Stinger is not just a magnetic phone mount that clips into your air vent. No, it’s an emergency tool that could save a life some day.Priced just $11.99 and available in three colors, it can be used as a seat belt cutter or a glass breaker. Should you find yourself in an unfortunate situation where you need to cut a seat belt to get someone out of a car, or break a window to get into one, Stinger is what you’ll reach for.Stinger FeaturesMagnetically holds phone in place (adhesive metal plate has to be attached to your phone before use)Swivels to securely attach to car air vent mountAutomatically deploys when pressed against a windowRazor-sharp blade for easily cutting through a seat beltBuy Yours Now!Visit our Deals Store today and purchase your Stinger in red, black, or white! Be sure to grab it while it’s on sale for just $11.99 and save 40% on yours.Best SellersEarn Credits!For every $25 you spend in the AG Deals Store you get $1 credit added to your account. And, if you refer the deal via social media or an email that results in a purchase, you’ll earn $10 credit in your account.First Time Buying?If this is your first time buying, you are also eligible for 10% discount! Just be sure to subscribe for email updates.Free StuffNot looking to spend any money today? No worries. You can still visit the AndroidGuys section for freebies and pick something anyhow.

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