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FCC Republican excitedly endorses Trump’s crackdown on social media

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Enlarge / FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020.

Getty Images | Bloomberg

Republican Brendan Carr of the Federal Communications Commission is cheering on President Trump’s attack on Big Tech this week. The commissioner also accused social media platforms of bias against the president and of trying to swing the 2020 presidential election.

Carr has supported Trump’s action in a series of tweets, in an official statement posted on the FCC website, and in interviews including one with Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business channel.

“This is really welcome news,” Carr told Dobbs. “Since the 2016 election, the far left has hopped from hoax to hoax to hoax to explain how it lost to President Trump at the ballot box. One thing they’ve done is look to social media platforms and they’ve put pressure on them for the crime, in their view, of staying neutral in the 2016 election and they’re committed to not letting those platforms stay neutral in the run-up to 2020. So this step by President Trump shines a light on some of that activity and tees up some steps that can be taken.”

@BrendanCarrFCC weighs in on today’s executive order: pic.twitter.com/nR2A1y0AeR

— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 28, 2020

“Twitter made the decision to take on the president of the United States in a partisan, political debate and it did so in a really disingenuous way,” Carr added, saying that Trump was right to warn of voter fraud in mail-in ballots. In a tweet today, Carr accused Twitter of “punishing speakers based on whether it approves or disapproves of their politics.” He’s been making similar arguments for months.

“If they go after the president, who are they going after next?” Carr said in a separate interview about Twitter, also on Fox.

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Chairman Ajit Pai takes measured tone

Carr’s enthusiasm for Trump’s executive order is significant because the FCC would be tasked with implementing part of it. Trump’s order calls on the FCC to “expeditiously propose regulations to clarify” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act in order to limit social media platforms’ legal protections for hosting third-party content when the platforms take down content they consider objectionable.

The FCC’s power to do this is limited, as we explained in an in-depth article on Trump’s order today. And Carr may be alone among the five FCC commissioners in actually wanting to carry out Trump’s wishes. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai didn’t carry out Trump’s call in 2017 to revoke broadcast licenses from stations whose news coverage Trump disliked. Pai did question Twitter’s moderation decisions in a tweet today, but he is generally against imposing new regulations.

“This debate is an important one,” Pai said yesterday. “The Federal Communications Commission will carefully review any petition for rulemaking filed by the Department of Commerce.”

Republican Commissioner Michael O’Rielly wrote on Twitter that Trump “has [the] right to seek review of [the] statute’s application. As a conservative, I’m troubled voices are stifled by liberal tech leaders. At [the] same time, I’m extremely dedicated to First Amendment which governs much here.”

FCC Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel blasted Trump, saying, “an Executive Order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the President’s speech police is not the answer. It’s time for those in Washington to speak up for the First Amendment. History won’t be kind to silence.”

Even if the Pai-led FCC doesn’t do much in response to Trump’s order, Carr’s full-throated support for Trump could help him win the job of FCC chairman in 2021 if the president wins re-election. Pai wouldn’t have to step down, but FCC chairs traditionally end their terms after a presidential election even if the same party stays in power. If Trump wins a second term and Pai leaves the FCC, Trump could appoint Carr to be the chairman. Unlike nominations for people who aren’t yet on the commission, which require Senate approval, the president can promote a commissioner to chair unilaterally.

Carr says Facebook is trying to “tilt an election”

The White House Twitter account posted the video of Carr’s interview with Dobbs, and Carr retweeted that. In the interview, Carr criticized Facebook’s oversight board, saying, “If you were to hand-pick a group to tilt an election against the incumbent president, I don’t think it would look much different than the oversight board that Facebook has put together.” Carr previously called the Facebook board “your new speech police” in one of his many tweets about what he considers censorship on social media websites.

Dobbs was in full agreement with Carr. “It’s ridiculous some of the comments that have resulted from the Twitter folks trying to explain their idiotic attempts to limit the free speech of the president of the United States. It cannot be condoned rationally, can it?” Dobbs said. Dobbs also said that Trump “served notice, more than sufficient notice, that he was not going to be trifled with by Big Tech, pencil-neck geeks in the form of one [Twitter CEO] Jack Dorsey, who has tried to become his nemesis in Silicon Valley.”

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Carr conflated free speech on Twitter with the First Amendment, despite the fact that the First Amendment only prevents government-imposed restrictions on free speech (not restrictions from private companies). “Every speaker in this country has a First Amendment right to free speech,” Carr said in the statement he issued on the FCC website. In the Fox interview with Dobbs, Carr continued:

Here’s what’s really important about the president’s executive order: Everybody has free speech, First Amendment rights. What’s different about these platforms is that Congress in the 1990s afforded them a very special and unique legal liability and protection that all other political actors don’t enjoy. That maybe made sense when you had the Prodigy messaging board that was in Congress’s mind. But flash-forward 20 years, these are now the largest, most powerful corporations when it comes to speech. So I think it’s entirely appropriate for the president to say, is it time to take another look at Section 230 and whether that makes sense, given where we are today.

Carr also accused social media websites of misleading the public about how they apply content moderation. “If you’re any other type of business and you represent to Congress and the public that you’re a neutral platform, and you engage in some of the conduct that we’re seeing, you’d be held liable for an unfair business practice at that point,” he said. Carr, who was the FCC’s general counsel before becoming a commissioner in 2017, said that he wants “a neutral application of terms of service to all Americans.”

While Carr supports Trump’s attempted crackdown on social-media websites, he has consistently fought against consumer-protection rules for broadband providers that the FCC regulates. When Carr voted to kill net neutrality rules, which prohibit ISPs from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, he said, “I am proud to help end this two-year experiment with heavy-handed regulation—this massive regulatory overreach.” That vote ended the policy of regulating ISPs as common carriers and eliminated other consumer protections such as rules against hidden fees and a process for consumers to file complaints about unjust or unreasonable prices and practices.

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MARKETING

Write Content That Drives an Immediate Response [Sponsored]

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Write Content That Drives an Immediate Response [Sponsored]

Provided by Writer

The content landscape gets more complex and competitive every day. That means it’s more important than ever for content marketers to do everything they can to capture their audience’s attention.

Writing effective, attention-capturing content means knowing how to truly engage the reader. Driving that reader to respond to your content clearly shows you’ve achieved that goal. By following the six tips below, you can improve your ability to connect with consumers – and do it in a way that compels them to take action immediately.

It’s no secret that engaging your audience is critical for content marketing success. But, not all engagement is created equal, and your objective should be to elicit a meaningful, timely response – whether that’s by subscribing to your email list, buying a product, or sharing your content with friends.

Why is timely action so important? Here are a few key reasons:

  • It helps you get your content seen by more people. When your audience acts on your content – for example, by sharing it with their friends – it increases your brand’s visibility and helps get your content in front of more consumers. On many content platforms, including search and social media, the speed at which you can get your audience to share or react to your content directly impacts your potential reach.
  • It helps you build stronger audience relationships. When someone responds to your content, they aren’t just consuming it – they’re interacting with it. It creates a connection with your brand that you can measure — and reinforce by sharing additional content that might interest them. This can lead to more consistent engagement and help establish your brand as a trusted voice in your industry.
  • It helps you achieve your content and business goals. Whether you’re looking to increase sales, generate leads, or build brand awareness, driving an immediate response from your audience is key to achieving those goals. For example, your article may compel a prospect to comment, which puts them on your sales team’s radar as a potential lead. Or your thought leadership piece may get shared in a new online community, generating brand awareness among that target vertical.

It’s hard enough to get a reader’s attention once, let alone twice, so don’t let the opportunity go to waste. Capitalize on that moment of attention with copy that encourages readers to act promptly.

What does it take to write that copy? These six tips will point you in the right direction.

Looking to write content that engages your reader and drives them to respond? Check out these 6 tips from @ryanejohnston #sponsored. Click To Tweet

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Tip #1: Write a compelling headline

Your headline is the first – and sometimes only – chance you’ll get to grab a reader’s attention. A compelling headline can mean the difference between taking the time to read your piece or quickly moving on to something else.

There are a few key elements that make up a great headline:

  • It should be attention-grabbing. A headline that doesn’t immediately grab the reader’s attention is likely to be passed over in favor of something more interesting. Consider why you created the content and why your audience should care. Are you challenging the status quo? Providing actionable tips? Sharing stories about a well-known brand? Be sure to include these details so your headline stands out.
  • It should be relevant. If your headline doesn’t accurately reflect what’s in the article, you risk losing the reader’s trust once they realize they’ve been misled. Remember, you’re not just looking to get clicks. You also want to drive your readers to take action – something they’ll be less likely to do if they feel like you’ve deliberately misinformed them.
  • It should be clear. A headline that’s unclear or too difficult to understand will likely be passed over in favor of something easier to digest. You want to be specific and concise, removing any unnecessary filler words. If your content includes steps or a list, add clarity by putting a specific number in the title. Another way to add clarity is to use brackets that indicate more about what the reader can expect, such as [infographic] or [interview].
  • It should be length appropriate. A headline that’s too long or too short is less effective than one that’s just right. It’s recommended to stay around 80 characters for your headline, with 100 characters being the maximum.

Tip #2: Write to a specific person

Content should be more like a conversation than a broadcasted message. When you write to a specific person, you create a personal connection that makes readers more likely to listen and respond.

Think about it this way: If you were at a party, and someone started shouting at everyone in the crowd, would you stop to talk to them? Probably not. But if that same person approached you personally and started chatting, you’d be more open to engaging in a conversation with them.

Here are a few tips for writing to a specific person:

  • Picture an actual person. While researching and writing, hold a customer persona or specific member of your community or audience in mind. Would Jordan, a content strategist at an enterprise B2B SaaS company, find this compelling? What about Jesse, a UX writer at a mid-market consumer technology company? Be sure to pick or design a persona based on your goals for the piece.
  • Use personal pronouns. Using personal pronouns (e.g., “I,” “you,” “me,” “we,” “us”) makes your writing more relatable. In particular, the second-person pronoun “you” makes your writing feel more like a conversation between the writer and the reader.
  • Be specific. The more specific you are, the more you’ll be able to connect with your reader. When making a point, support it with specific examples so your reader can better understand how the idea works in theory and practice.

Tip #3: Make it easy to read

It’s important to make your content easy to read if you want to generate an immediate response from your reader. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Use short sentences and paragraphs. Shorter paragraphs are easier to parse, especially if you limit each paragraph to one idea. Another factor is that content is increasingly consumed on mobile browsers with narrow screens. What looks like a short paragraph on desktop might actually look like a long paragraph on mobile, so aim to have your paragraphs be no more than five lines long and no more than 100 words long.
  • Use bullet points or numbers when possible. If you are conveying a series of related ideas, try formatting them in a bulleted or numbered list. List formatting helps the reader identify key takeaways more easily.
  • Use simple words and language. When you write in clear and simple language, you make it easier for your reader to find the information they need and understand that information when they find it. Additionally, writing in plain language means that your content will be more accessible to less fluent readers.
  • Highlight important information. Use formatting elements, like pull quotes or bold text, to emphasize the most important information for the reader – like your key brand messages or the specific actions you recommend taking.

Tip #4: Use active voice

Writing in an active voice makes your content more engaging and easier to understand. It also helps your brand sound more authoritative, which helps to gain your audience’s attention and trust.

To increase content engagement, try writing in an active voice. Your content will sound more authoritative – thus more worthy of your audience’s attention and trust, says @ryanejohnston #sponsored. Click To Tweet

To encourage your reader to act, you need to make it clear what action you want them to take. Because active voice emphasizes the action a subject performs, it’s better suited to content marketing than passive voice, which emphasizes the recipient of the subject’s actions.

Many of advertising’s most famous slogans, like Nike’s “Just do it,” Apple’s “Think different,” or Burger King’s “Have it your way” all urge the customer to take action. For example, when Nike says, “Just do it,” it puts the decision to act into the customer’s hands.

Active voice is particularly important when writing headlines. In fact, if you look at blog posts from companies like Buffer, HubSpot, and Intercom, you’ll notice that nearly every headline is written in an active voice.

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Yet, there are times when passive voice can be used effectively, as well. For example, this CMI article, 4 Metrics Not To Be Missed in Your Next Content Audit, uses the passive voice to emphasize the metrics rather than the potential act of missing the metrics.

Tip #5: Add visual interest

To capture even more attention, consider using images, infographics, and video to add visual interest. These visual elements break up the text while also reinforcing the message you are trying to communicate. This approach also helps to engage visual learners with written content pieces.

Follow these tips to add visual interest in a way that drives an immediate response:

  • Choose images that are relevant and relatable. A well-chosen image can illustrate a point or create an emotional connection that goes beyond what you can accomplish with text alone. A common use case for images would be to show examples of the subject being discussed – for example, including images of actual newsletters in an article about newsletter best practices.
  • Make sure your infographics are clear and easy to understand. An infographic can be highly effective at helping your audience digest any data discussed in your content. Try to use simple charts and graphs, then provide support text to help explain how the reader should interpret the information.
  • Keep videos brief and to the point. To maximize engagement, aim for your videos to be less than 30 seconds in length. You can also break up longer videos into smaller snippets, if necessary. Also, make sure to caption your videos so they’re accessible for everyone, including viewers who may not want to use audio at the time. Don’t forget to add your CTA at the end of the video, as well.

Tip #6: Create a sense of urgency

Driving your reader to take action is only half of the equation – you need the reader to take action now. Otherwise, they might get distracted and forget to return to complete the action.

Creating a sense of urgency is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this. Here are some tips to try:

  • Highlight the consequences of not taking action. For example, you could write about how not taking action could lead to missed opportunities or negative consequences.
  • Use language to imply the time-sensitivity of the action. For example, you could use phrases like “don’t wait to improve your ROI” or “the end of the quarter is quickly approaching.”
  • Offer a limited-time offer. This could be a discount, a freebie, or access to a one-time event that’s happening very soon.

For great content marketing that performs, you need to know how to write to engage your audience. By following the six tips outlined above, you can improve your writing and compel your readers to respond when it matters most.

So, what are you waiting for? Put these tips into practice and see how they can help you drive better results with your content marketing efforts.

About Writer

Writer is the leading AI writing platform for teams. Writer empowers GTM leaders to build a consistent brand across every customer touchpoint. Automated language generation and writing suggestions make it possible for teams to accelerate content, align with their brand, and empower more writers across all types of content and communications.

Writer recently launched CoWrite, which helps you produce high-quality, on-brand first drafts in a fraction of the time, using AI that is custom-trained on your best content. You can learn more about CoWrite on our product page: CoWrite.



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