GZERO Media logo

FCC wants to change Section 230 regulating tech companies & censorship

Nicholas Thompson, editor-in-chief of WIRED, shares his perspective on technology news in Tech In (a little over) 60 Seconds:

What is the deal with Twitter and Facebook censoring a New York Post story on Hunter Biden?

The New York Post ran a story on Hunter Biden. It may have been entirely false. It may have been hacked. Both of those things are problems. But the complicated thing is when the story ran, nobody at Facebook and nobody at Twitter knew whether it was false or whether it had been hacked. The two companies responded in different ways. Facebook said, we're just going to down-rank it. Twitter initially said, "we just won't let it be shared." Twitter then backtracked. Basically, there is a really hard problem of what you do with false information and what you do with hacked information. Neither company has totally clear policies and both got caught in the slipstream.


Was the censoring of the New York Post story the catalyst for the FCC's public statements to rewrite Section 230?

Yes, absolutely. So Section 230 is the very important Internet law that allows the tech companies to filter content on their platforms. It essentially says, hey, if you run a platform, whether it's Facebook, Twitter or a Web site comments, you are not responsible for comments and for content that other people post there. And not only that, you have the ability to within certain limits, censor, change, edit the content out there without becoming a publisher and becoming liable. So that is partly what has allowed the tech companies to do what they do. It's allowed them to thrive and it's also allowed them to have policies policing misinformation or false statements on their platforms. So, Donald Trump got very mad at it, and so Ajit Pai, the head of the FCC, said, "hey, we're going to look at Section 230 and interpret it." In my opinion, that's garbage. Section 230 may be a bad law. It may be bad that the tech companies filter content on their platforms, whatever. I don't see how the FCC has the authority to deal with that. It is a law that gets interpreted by the courts. So, Congress can change the law, or the courts can change the interpretation of the law. I don't see why the FCC has authority, but who knows? It's just my guess, Ajit Pai is trying to please Donald Trump.

Bank of America's $25 million jobs initiative provides Black and Hispanic-Latino individuals access to skills and training needed for jobs of the future. Learn more about the initiative, which involves partnerships with 21 community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions.

Two weeks ago, Russia secured a deal to build a naval base in Sudan, its first new military facility in Africa since the end of the Cold War. The accord is a major milestone in Moscow's wider push to regain influence, and income, on a continent where the Kremlin was once a major player.

But with the ideological and military contests of the Cold War long over, what is Moscow doing in Africa today?

More Show less

Jon Lieber, who leads Eurasia Group's coverage of political and policy developments in Washington, offers insights on US politics:

Is Trump out of options now that William Barr said the DOJ found no election interference?

Trump's problem isn't William Barr not finding election interference, it's that he lost the election and he lost it by millions of votes, and he lost it in the most important key states by tens of thousands of votes. Now, this was a very close election. The three closest states, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, Trump only lost by 44,000 votes so far, and if he'd ended up winning those three, we'd have an Electoral College tie. But the election was not close enough that Trump's strategy of trying to kick this to the courts and then getting it to go all the way to the Congress, with an alternate slate of electors, it just wasn't possible. Had the election been a little closer, he might've had a shot. But as it is, his chances are over. Joe Biden's going to be inaugurated on January 20th.

More Show less

Listen: Benjamin Franklin famously called on American business leaders more than two centuries ago to "Do well by doing good." To him, that meant creating companies that were not just about the bottom line, but also that helped foster happier and healthier communities. Now, as 2021 approaches and the world recovers from the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, sustainable investing is a bigger discussion than ever. What does it mean, and how does it not only help the environment and societies but also build your bottom line? That's the topic of the latest episode of Living Beyond Borders.

More Show less

Iran's nuclear tug-of-war: Hardliners in Iran's parliament passed a bill Tuesday suspending UN inspections of its nuclear sites and giving the go-ahead to massively increase uranium enrichment unless the US lifts its sanctions by February. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani opposes the measure, saying it would be "harmful" to diplomatic efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with the incoming Biden administration in the US. But Iran's parliament doesn't actually need Rouhani's approval to pass the law, and regardless, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei will have the final say on policy – as always! If the law is passed, it will immediately raise the stakes for Biden, who takes office on January 20. Both he and Rouhani say they are keen to resume dialogue in hopes of reviving the nuclear deal, which President Trump walked out of in 2018. But just days after the architect of Iran's nuclear program was assassinated (likely by Israel with the US' blessing) the hurdles to even beginning those talks are rising fast.

More Show less
Reasons for Hope: COVID and the Coming Year. Watch on Friday. Dec 4 2020 12 noon - 1 pm ET

GZEROMEDIA

Subscribe to GZERO Media's Newsletter: Signal

Episode 9: Can sustainable investing save our planet?

Living Beyond Borders Podcasts