Wyden Statement on Reported Executive Order to Undermine the First Amendment and Section 230
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today issued the following statement in response to Donald Trump’s planned executive order to illegally punish private companies and attempt to re-write Section 230, as well as the First Amendment:
“I have warned for years that this administration was threatening 230 in order to chill speech and bully companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter into giving him favorable treatment. Today Trump proved me right. I expect those companies, and every American who participates in online speech, to resist this illegal act by all possible means. Giving in to bullying by this president may be the single most unpatriotic act an American could undertake.
“Donald Trump’s order is plainly illegal. After driving our country into an economic and health care disaster, Trump is desperately trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress to rewrite decades of settled law around Section 230. All for the ability to spread unfiltered lies.
“Donald Trump’s misinformation campaigns have left death and destruction in their wake. He’s clearly targeting Section 230 because it protects private businesses' right not to have to play host to his lies. As the co-author of Section 230, let me make this clear – there is nothing in the law about political neutrality. It does not say companies like Twitter are forced to carry misinformation about voting, especially from the president. Efforts to erode Section 230 will only make online content more likely to be false and dangerous.
“Protecting expression that resists the tyranny of those in power is the very foundation of the First Amendment. Section 230 does not prevent Internet companies from moderating offensive or false content. And it does not change the First Amendment of the Constitution.”
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