Officials interviewing to replace FTC chair who has resisted Trump’s crackdown on social media: report

Greg Nash

Trump administration officials are interviewing to replace President Trump’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Joe Simons, Politico reports.

Simons, a Republican, has reportedly resisted the president’s pressure to have the FTC crack down on social media platforms as Trump has ramped up criticism of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Politico reports at least one person has been interviewed for the top FTC role, though Simons has thus far not signaled plans to resign. The FTC chair cannot be removed by the president unless there is evidence of gross negligence, as the agency is independent of the administration. 

But Simons could resign for unrelated reasons after the November election, even though his term is slated to last through 2024.

Politico reported that former FTC member and Fox Corp. executive Gail Slater was the person interviewed, citing two sources.

The White House and FTC declined to comment to Politico for its report.

Trump has frequently feuded with social media companies, and recently lashed out at Twitter for fact-checking his tweets about mail-in voting. 

In May, Trump signed an executive order that aims to strip certain legal protections from social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook, though legal experts say the measure is vulnerable to court challenges.

Trump’s order would strip protections that shield companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook from being held liable for the content appearing on their platforms.

Another section of Trump’s order would direct users’ complaints about political bias to the FTC and task the agency with reviewing whether allegations amount to “unfair or deceptive business practices.”

Experts say that if the FTC were to reach the same conclusions as Trump, it would cut against how the courts have long interpreted Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

However, if there were a vacancy in the FTC leadership, a new chief could be named who is willing to carry out the new actions outlined in Trump’s executive order.

Tags Donald Trump Facebook FTC interview replace Social media Trump Twitter
See all Hill.TV See all Video