President Trump signed this order into affect in order to protect free speech. He believes that social media had “unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large audiences.”
The order will change the protections of Section 230, which says that companies that operate online forums cannot be considered the publishers of the posts that others put on their websites. This means they cannot be liable for what people post.
The order has created a council to prove allegations of censorship based on political views and takes federal agencies reviewing their spending on social media advertisement. Trump’s mandate could lead to new rules and punishments for companies deemed to exhibit political bias. This potentially can affect more than just social media, as other websites, apps, and services where people congregate online will have new liability for their content.
Tech companies like Facebook and Google are already making their concerns know. Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto stated, “Undermining Section 230 in this way would hurt America’s economy and its global leadership on internet freedom.” The order is experiencing opposition from more than just tech companies. Democratic lawmakers, free speech activists, digital experts and more agreed that the order could amount to government interference in private speech.