Trump’s FCC order could make social media even more of a garbage fire

The White House wants the U.S. government to have a much bigger say in what you see on social media.

A new draft executive order from the White House would put the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in charge of deciding what sites like Twitter and Facebook can remove from their sites, reports CNN, which obtained a copy of a summary of the order.

President Donald Trump and other conservative leaders have long said that conservative content is censored on major social media networks — even though the data clearly shows otherwise. This order, called “Protecting Americans from Online Censorship,” appears aimed at making it so that conservative content could better thrive on those sites, regardless of whether it breaks the rules.

The order could help conspiracy theories, misinformation, and even deepfakes thrive even more on social media, if they’re considered political conversation. Conspiracy theorists like Infowars’ Alex Jones have claimed that they’re censored for being conservative after being kicked off of major social media sites. 

The proposed order calls for the FCC to create new regulations on how and when the law will protect social media websites, specifically when those sites decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. The summary also suggests that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) should take those newly created regulations into account when it files lawsuits against companies or opens investigations into their practices.

As the law stands now, social media companies are not liable for the content posted by their users under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. They also receive immunity for taking down questionable content, as long as that takedown appears to be “in good faith.” While that provision exists so internet companies aren’t the target of constant lawsuits, the executive order would remove that immunity if a user isn’t notified of the content being taken down, or if the takedown is deemed anticompetitive.

The move presumably has something to do with Trump’s largely unfounded view that social media companies show a systemic bias against conservatives. According to the summary, the Trump administration has received 15,000 complaints on social media companies censoring political conversation on their platforms.

Those complaints likely came from the website the White House created earlier this year specifically asking for consumers to complain about partisan bias by social media companies.

Presuming the executive order gets filed, the FTC will also get in on the action. It will have to open a “public complaint docket,” and it will have to work with the FCC on a report on how social media companies curate content on their platforms and whether that curation is done in a neutral way.

The summary suggests that any company whose user base accounts for at least 1/8 of the U.S. population would be subject to scrutiny. That means in addition to Twitter and Facebook, companies such as Google, Pinterest, and Snapchat might also be subject to investigation. We reached out to Twitter and Facebook for comment and will update this story if we hear back. 

News

Sen. Josh Hawley wants to ban infinite scroll and autoplay videos

Sen. Josh Hawley introduced legislation on Tuesday calling for tech giants to curb deceptive techniques that fuel social media addiction.The bill would ban features that he says can be addictive to users like infinite scroll and autoplay.
Wearables

Facebook’s ‘brain-computer interface’ could let you type with your mind

Facebook talked a couple of years ago about creating technology that lets you type with your mind. Aimed primarily at patients with speech loss due to paralysis, the company recently offered an update on its ambitious project.
News

Facebook just deleted fake accounts from the Middle East

Facebook removed fake accounts from UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia because of coordinated inauthentic behavior. The social network announced in a blog post the removal of pages, groups, and accounts that originated in these countries.
News

The FTC wants to know exactly why Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp

The Federal Trade Commission's antitrust investigation into Facebook will focus in on its acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp. The FTC wants to know if Facebook tried to acquire its social media rivals before they would become a threat
News

Facebook is going to add its name to Instagram and WhatsApp

Facebook plans to add its name to both Instagram and WhatsApp as politicians call for the social media giant to be broken apart and the FTC investigates Facebook’s acquisition of both companies.
Web

Were they really that bad? Here are the 10 most disliked videos on YouTube

Ever wondered which videos are the most disliked videos on YouTube? Well, we have the top ten list you’re looking for. Here are the latest videos with the most dislikes currently on YouTube.
News

WhatsApp has 400 million users in India, but no fix for its fake news problem

WhatsApp is struggling to stem the tide of fake news in India, its biggest market. In the last few years, its platform has been inundated with an around-the-clock avalanche of misinformation -- misleading mobs into lynching innocents and…
Mobile

Telegram’s new Slow Mode aims to bring order to noisy group chats

Messaging app Telegram has just released some new features that are bound to please. Slow Mode aims to bring some order to group chats, while Silent Messages ensures you won’t wake your buddy if you get in touch late in the day.
Social Media

The EU could hit Facebook with billions in fines over privacy violations

The European Union is reportedly nearing the end of its investigations into some of the cases it has opened against Facebook pertaining to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR. The EU currently has 11 open cases against the…
Social Media

Quit hitting refresh: Twitter is testing a subscribe to tweet replies feature

Soon you might be able to get a push notification when a tweet has been replied to as well. Twitter is currently testing a new feature that will allow users to turn on notifications for a particular thread.
Computing

Make a GIF of your favorite YouTube video with these great tools

Making a GIF from a YouTube video is easier than ever, but choosing the right tool to use isn't always so simple. In this guide, we'll teach you how to make a GIF from a YouTube video with our three favorite tools.
News

Facebook admits it was listening to your private conversations, too

Facebook outsourced contractors to listen in on your audio messenger chats and transcribe them. Contractors were not told why they were listening in or why they were transcribing them. Facebook said it is no longer transcribing audio. 
Social Media

Spice up your Instagram videos by adding your top tunes to the soundtrack

Have you ever taken a beautiful video, only to have it ruined by some jerk in the background yelling curse words? Here's a list of apps you can use to add your own music to Instagram posts as well as your Story.
Mobile

Looking for love or just some fun? Cozy up with the best dating apps of 2019

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.