San Francisco – On Wednesday, October 21 at 5 pm ET/2 pm PT, voter advocacy organizations will ask a district court to block an unconstitutional Executive Order that retaliates against online services for fact-checking President Trump’s false posts about voting and the upcoming election. Information on attending the video hearing can be found on the court’s website.
The plaintiffs— Common Cause, Free Press, Maplight, Rock the Vote, and Voto Latino—are represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Protect Democracy, and Cooley LLP. At Wednesday’s hearing, Cooley partner Kathleen Hartnett will argue that the president’s Executive Order should not be enforced until the lawsuit is resolved.
Trump signed the “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship” in May, after a well-publicized fight with Twitter. First, the president tweeted false claims about the reliability of online voting, and then Twitter decided to append a link to “get the facts about mail-in ballots.” Two days later, Trump signed the order, which directs government agencies to begin law enforcement actions against online services for any supposedly “deceptive acts” of moderation that aren’t in “good faith.” The order also instructs the government to withhold advertising through social media companies who act in “bad faith,” and to kickstart a process to gut platforms’ legal protections under Section 230. Section 230 is the law that allows online services—like Twitter, Facebook, and others—to host and moderate diverse forums of users’ speech without being liable for their users’ content.
The plaintiffs in this case filed the lawsuit because they want to make sure that voting information found online is accurate, and they want social media companies to be able to take proactive steps against misinformation. Instead, the Executive Order chills social media companies from moderating the president’s content in a way that he doesn’t like—an unconstitutional violation of the First Amendment.
Rock the Vote v. Trump
5pm ET/2 pm PT
To attend the hearing and see the guidelines for the watching the video stream