Freedom of Expression



The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is seeking public comments on President Trump’s petition asking the FCC to reinterpret Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The intent behind Trump’s petition is to give him free rein to spread harmful disinformation online. It must be rejected. 

Why is this happening now?

Trump’s social media presence — most famously on Twitter — has been a firehose of disinformation. When he posted tweets spreading false information about mail-in ballots that raised concerns about election integrity and voter suppression, Twitter added fact-check language alongside the tweet (leaving Trump’s original message untouched). 

In response, Trump wrote an executive order attempting to punish social media platforms like Twitter for “violating free speech” (aka combatting dangerous misinformation) by threatening to take away their legal protections under Section 230.

What does Section 230 do?

Section 230 says online platforms like Twitter and Facebook, or even small blogs with comment sections, are not legally liable for the content others post on their platform. That means a company like Twitter can let, for example, President Trump use its platform without worrying about being liable for Trump's harmful statements.

Just as importantly, Section 230 also allows those same online platforms to make content moderation decisions to enforce their community standards and to protect their users from hate, misinformation, and other dangerous content. This is not a First Amendment concern, because the First Amendment only applies to restrictions on speech by the government, not by a private company. In other words, it protects Twitter from Trump, not Trump from Twitter.

What can you do?

Public comments are an important part of how the FCC makes its decisions, and you have the opportunity to guide them to do the right thing until September 17, 2020. 

Join us in telling the FCC: Don’t help President Trump undermine the system that makes free expression online possible so he can make himself immune to fact-checking.

Submit Your Comment

Submit your comment to the FCC by 2pm ET on September 17, 2020. If you missed our deadline, please submit your comment directly to the FCC by clicking "+Express" on the left side of this page by 11:59pm ET on September 17.

Note: All of the fields above are required by the FCC for comment submission. Information submitted to the FCC, including names and addresses, will be available as public record.

Here is some sample text to get you thinking. But please edit it. Use your own words, and make your own arguments. Tell the FCC why this matters to you. 

Access Now