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Photo: Doug MIlls via Getty Images

President Donald Trump's executive order targeting social media companies, signed Thursday, calls on independent agencies, the Justice Department and states to carry out the new policy.

What it does: The president has framed the order as a bid to prevent online censorship, which he says disproportionately affects him and other conservatives. It aims to address the issue by doing the following:

  • Directs the Commerce Department to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to craft new regulations limiting the scope of protections provided to tech companies under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That measure, which hasn't previously fallen to the FCC to interpret or enforce, immunizes online platforms against liability for content their users post.
  • Asks the Federal Trade Commission, which polices unfair or deceptive acts, to take action against platforms whose content moderation practices restrict speech in ways that don't align with their publicly stated policies.
  • Directs the attorney general to create a working group to help states enforce laws prohibiting online platforms from engaging in deceptive or unfair practices.
  • Orders the attorney general to develop a proposal for federal legislation to promote the order's policy goals.

Go deeper

Aug 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Most Americans think social media platforms censor political viewpoints

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Most Americans say it's very (37%) or somewhat (36%) likely that social media platforms intentionally censor political viewpoints that they find objectionable, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

Why it matters: The survey shows that the concept of tech censorship, a political argument for the right, has turned into a mainstream belief.

Updated Sep 14, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: We're numb to the coronavirus

Data: Newswhip; Chart: Axios Visuals

We're over COVID even if it isn't over us.

Why it matters: Six months into the pandemic, online engagement around coronavirus stories has dropped off markedly and continues to reach new lows even as the pandemic continues, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Resurrecting Martin Luther King's office

King points to Selma, Alabama on a map at his Southern Christian Leadership Conference office in Atlanta in January 1965. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Contributor

Efforts to save the office where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., planned some of the most important moments of the civil rights movement are hitting roadblocks amid a political stalemate.

Why it matters: The U.S. Park Service needs to OK agreements so a developer restoring the historic Prince Hall Masonic Lodge in Atlanta — which once housed King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference — can tap into private funding and begin work.