President Joe Biden on Friday repealed a dangerous and unconstitutional executive order issued by President Trump that threatened internet users’ ability to get truthful information online and hit back against services that had verified the former president’s facts. The executive order called on several federal agencies to punish private online social media services for content moderation decisions President Trump disliked.
Biden’s cancellation of the executive order comes after a coalition of organizations challenging the order in court called on the president to drop the order last month. In a letter from Rock The Vote, Voto Latino, Common Cause, Free Press, Decoding Democracy and Center for Democracy & Technology, the organizations called for the decree to be overturned because “it is a drastic attack on free speech. designed to punish online platforms. this President Trump has verified the facts.
The organizations filed lawsuits to overturn the executive order last year, with Rock The Vote, Voto Latino, Common Cause, Free Press and Decoding Democracy currently on appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Center for Democracy & Technology’s appeal is currently pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.
Cooley LLP, Protect Democracy and EFF represent the complainants in Rock The Vote vs. Biden. We applaud Biden’s revocation of the “Online Censorship Prevention Executive Order” and are reviewing his rescinding of the order and discussing with our clients to determine its impact on the ongoing legal challenge in the Ninth Circuit.
Trump issued the unconstitutional executive order in retaliation for fact-checking tweets on Twitter in May 2020 spreading false information about postal voting. The executive order issued two days later sought to undermine a key law protecting the speech of Internet users, 47 USC § 230 (“section 230”) and punish online platforms, including directing federal agencies to review and potentially d ” stop advertising on social networks and launch federal regulations to reinterpret section 230.