FCC trying to help Trump win election with Twitter crackdown, Democrats say

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai talking while standing in front of an FCC seal.

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on December 14, 2017, in Washington, DC, the day of the FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality rules. (credit: Getty Images | Alex Wong )

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has turned the FCC into “a political appendage of President Trump’s campaign” by aiding Trump’s battle against social media websites, two House Democrats said yesterday.

“Chairman Pai’s decision to start a Section 230 rulemaking is a blatant attempt to help a flailing President Trump,” said Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Mike Doyle (D-Penn.). “The timing and hurried nature of this decision makes clear it’s being done to influence social media companies’ behavior leading up to an election, and it is shocking to watch this supposedly independent regulatory agency jump at the opportunity to become a political appendage of President Trump’s campaign.”

On Thursday last week, Pai announced that he is backing President Trump’s proposal to limit legal protections for social media websites that block or modify content posted by users. Pai said he will propose a new interpretation of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, limiting the legal immunity websites like Facebook and Twitter are granted when they block or screen content. Trump claims the companies are biased against conservatives, and he wants to post on social media without the platforms adding fact checks or limiting the reach of posts that violate their rules.

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