Opinion

FEC just turned Twitter into all-powerful propaganda machine accountable to no one

Ah, to be Twitter. Can control anything it publishes, profit from anything it wants — and not be held responsible for any of it.

Such is a unanimous ruling by the Federal Election Commission, which found Twitter violated no law by censoring The Post’s factual report about the contents of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Stating that, in its view, “Twitter is likely a press entity,” the FEC said that the social media network’s “activities fall within our press exemption.” That’s going to be news to Twitter and Facebook, which enjoy the benefits of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. That law states that “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

In other words: When The New York Post publishes something, we can be sued for libel. We endeavor to fact-check, edit and lawyer claims that appear in our stories, and if we fail to do so and the article is false, we are held responsible.

But Twitter, thanks to Section 230, can throw up its collective hands and say: Not our problem! That was @hottake123 who said that. Sue them — if you can figure out their real name.

Let’s also note Twitter’s inherent political bias that Commissioner Sean Cooksey was clearly suggesting in the FEC judgement: “According to the Commission, none of the behavior at issue was for the purpose of influencing the 2020 presidential election. I’m not so sure. In my view, the record doesn’t establish whether Twitter was consistently enforcing a politically neutral business policy or using its platform to support one candidate over another.”

Twitter, thanks to Section 230, can throw up its collective hands and say: Not our problem!

Think of the power these platforms have been granted by the government. By the FEC’s standard, Facebook or Twitter can censor, promote or ban anything it wants, based on whatever standards — or political belief — the company has. But if it publishes something false or defamatory, well, it can’t be held responsible for that either.

Bureaucrats have thus turned Silicon Valley firms into all-powerful media autocrats, answerable to no one. Funny how that seems to benefit one political party the most.

However, there’s reason to think that Jack Dorsey’s beard is twitching today. By declaring Twitter a publisher, the FEC has in black and white pointed out the inherent contradiction of these regulations. Lawmakers can and should repeal Section 230 and force social media companies to follow the same rules as other publishers. Nothing would terrify them more.

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