Today, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) filed a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on behalf of U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross seeking to clarify the section's regulations 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

The petition was filed in response to the May 2020 Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship. It calls on the FCC to clarify when online platforms can claim section 230 protections if they restrict access to content in a manner not specifically outlined under the Act.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said: “Many Americans rely on online platforms to stay informed and connected, sharing their thoughts and ideas on issues important to them, which can oftentimes lead to the free and open debate around public policies and upcoming elections. It has long been the United States policy to foster a robust marketplace of ideas on the Internet and the free flow of information around the world. President Trump is committed to protecting all Americans' rights to express their views and not face unjustified restrictions or selective censorship from a handful of powerful companies.”

The petition also seeks further clarity from the FCC:

  • Whether, and to what degree, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act protects social media's content moderation decisions
  • The conditions under which content moderation and editorial decisions by social media companies shape content to such a degree that section 230 no longer protects them
  • Social media's disclosure obligations concerning their content moderation practices
Source: Press Release
Date: Monday, July 27, 2020 
Office of Public Affairs, 
U.S. Department of Commerce · 1401 Constitution Ave., 
NW · Washington, D.C. 20230