Press Release | May 28, 2020

CTA Statement on White House Executive Order Weakening Section 230 Protections

Elliot Grimm
The following statement is attributed to Gary Shapiro, president and CEO, Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®, regarding the White House's executive order announced today scaling back platform liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act: 

"We oppose today's unconstitutional, ill-considered executive order. The free speech protections in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act are the legal underpinning of our vibrant U.S. online economy and our nation's global digital leadership. America's internet companies lead the world and it is incredible that our own political leaders would seek to censor them for political purposes. These same politicians extensively advertise on them and just a few minutes online will reveal these platforms contain a multitude of political views. Section 230 protects these companies as well as any start-up website which hosts others' speech - from community bulletin boards to social media sites to the Fox News comments section. 

"This executive order also conflicts with existing law. The President does not have the legal authority to add new laws for the FCC to follow. That is the role of Congress with legislation - sent to the President. The President is also trying to create new law by declaring private companies are the equivalent of 'public forums' for speech purposes. In the American system, private companies - not government - decide the 'rules of the road' for running their platforms, including what speech they host.

"Our nation's pro-free speech, low-touch regulation philosophy is part of what makes American innovators the most successful in the world. Companies can innovate without fear of being sued repeatedly over third-party content. Likewise, consumers have the power of choice - they can decide which platforms to use or even start their own.  

"Today's announcement will burden innovators, reduce our international competitiveness and promote wasteful trial lawyer lawsuits. While we support legitimate efforts to protect and enhance free speech, this executive order is not the answer."

About Consumer Technology Association: 
As North America’s largest technology trade association, CTA® is the tech sector. Our members are the world’s leading innovators – from startups to global brands – helping support more than 18 million American jobs. CTA owns and produces CES® – the largest, most influential tech event on the planet. Find us at Follow us @CTAtech.