- The Washington Times - Friday, January 8, 2021

The Federal Communications Commission will not issue new guidance on the legal liability protection granted to social media companies before the inauguration, according to reports.

In October 2020, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said the FCC would provide new guidance on the meaning of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which has protected companies such as Facebook and Twitter from legal liability for material posted by users on their platforms.

In an interview set to air on C-SPAN this weekend, Mr. Pai said that he no longer intends to offer new guidance on Section 230. Mr. Pai told C-SPAN and Protocol that Congress now has to study and deliberate on the issue to decide what should happen next.

“I do not intend to move forward with the notice of proposed rule-making at the FCC,” Mr. Pai told C-SPAN and Protocol.

“The reason is, in part, because given the results of the election, there’s simply not sufficient time to complete the administrative steps necessary in order to resolve the rule making. Given that reality, I do not believe it’s appropriate to move forward.”

Mr. Pai’s comments were made in an interview conducted after the violence at the Capitol by President Trump’s angry supporters. In the aftermath of the chaos, Twitter and Facebook both blocked Mr. Trump from their platforms with Twitter later allowing the president to regain access to his account, @realDonaldTrump.

When asked about the social media platforms decisions, Mr. Pai told C-SPAN and Protocol that he would not “second guess” their decision-making.

Mr. Pai has previously said he would leave his post before Inauguration Day, January 20. The Senate voted in December to confirm Nathan Simington to the FCC, setting up a likely 2-2 divide when President-elect Joseph R. Biden takes office this month.

Mr. Biden has picked John Williams, senior counsel on the House Judiciary Committee, to lead his transition team’s review of the FCC and help determine its future leadership.

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