Katie Bond is a Partner with Amin Talati Wasserman, LLP in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

The new White House Executive Order (EO) on social media opens with the lines, “Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution.” From there, that’s basically the only part that appears factually or legally accurate on the subject matter it addresses. The EO, in short, misinterprets and seeks to weaponize Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act against hosts of online platforms.

Let’s first examine what Section 230 is. Federal lawmakers originally intended the Communications Decency Act to help protect children from explicit online content. However, before passage, the original bill was amended to add Section 230, a provision entirely unrelated to protecting children. Congress instead intended Section 230 to promote the exchange of information on internet platforms by protecting online hosts from liability for content posted by others.