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FCC chief says Facebook and Twitter will face greater regulation after NY Post Biden debacle

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission issued a statement warning that change is coming to the rule governing the federal regulation of companies like Twitter and Facebook after New York Post Biden debacle.

Ajit Pai tweeted his statement via his official social media account on Thursday.

“Members of all three branches of the federal government have expressed serious concerns about the prevailing interpretation of the immunity set forth in section 230 of the Communications Act. There is bipartisan support in Congress to reform the law,” said Pai.

Pai noted that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas opined that internet platforms have been granted protections by courts that extend far beyond the original intent of the law.

“The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning,” Pai continued.

“Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression. Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech,” he concluded. “But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.

Pai didn’t mention the controversy over the banning of the NY Post Biden story, but critics and supporters alike immediately connected his announcement to the scandal.

“This is a major announcement”

Pai’s announcement was greeted with applause from those who have been demanding an expansion of federal oversight over the more prominent social media companies.

“This is a major announcement from FCC on #BigTech. Now Congress must act on #Section230,” said Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri. He went on to mock free market conservatives who decried big government intervention.

Others, like FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, perceived the announcement to be motivated by the political agenda of President Donald Trump.

“The FCC has no business being the President’s speech police,” said Rosenworcel.

On Wednesday Twitter released a statement explaining that they had decided to ban the posting of the New York Post article because it contained personal and private information, which they said was against their rules, and implied that there was no political motivation to their actions.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that it was “unacceptable” that they acted without explaining the context of the ban.

Here’s more about the Burisma Biden controversy:

‘Smoking gun’ emails reveal alleged meeting between Joe Biden and Ukrainian company

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Twitter CEO admits it was ‘unacceptable’ to block sharing of  NY Post’s Biden Burisma story ‘with zero context’

After a day of social media outrage and online recriminations, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted the company’s missteps in blocking the sharing of a report from the New York Post that could be damaging to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign.

Dorsey made the admission Wednesday on his Twitter account.

“Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great. And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable,” he tweeted.

The story outlined emails obtained by the New York Post that show Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma, thanking Hunter Biden for arranging his meeting with his father, who was vice president at the time.

Twitter users were banned from sharing the story on their public timelines and also in direct messages by Twitter.

Later Wednesday, Twitter provided the rationale for its actions.

“We want to provide much needed clarity around the actions we’ve taken with respect to two NY Post articles that were first Tweeted this morning,” said the Twitter Safety account.

“The images contained in the articles include personal and private information — like email addresses and phone numbers — which violate our rules. As noted this morning, we also currently view materials included in the articles as violations of our Hacked Materials Policy,” they continued.

“Commentary on or discussion about hacked materials, such as articles that cover them but do not include or link to the materials themselves, aren’t a violation of this policy,” they added. “Our policy only covers links to or images of hacked material themselves.”

‘Attempt to influence the upcoming election’

Critics of social media censorship jumped on the incident to further excoriate the social media companies of selective enforcement of their rules.

“.@Twitter and @Facebook’s censorship of the @nypost story on a meeting between Hunter Biden, Joe Biden, and Burisma is an obvious and transparent attempt to influence the upcoming election,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said on Twitter. “That’s why today I sent a letter seeking answers behind this censorship.”

Here’s more about the censorship of the Biden Burisma story:

Bannon sounds off on Joe Biden as NY Post shines light on Hunter Biden’s emails