Simington is senior adviser in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which specializes in network and telecommunications policy. On Trump’s directive, the NTIA recently petitioned the FCC to consider changes that would diminish the liability protections for the way that social media platforms moderate third-party content. Trump issued the executive order after Twitter put fact check labels on his tweets, something that he said was a pattern of bias by social media companies against conservatives.
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If confirmed, Simington would fill the seat that will be vacated by O’Rielly, who has been on the commission since 2013. Both are Republicans, but O’Rielly gave a speech in July in which he expressed doubts over proposals to target social media platforms for the way that they curate their content.
“Like it or not, the First Amendment’s protections apply to corporate entities, especially when they engage in editorial decision making,” O’Rielly said.
The White House withdrew O’Rielly’s nomination on Aug. 3.
At the time, O’Rielly’s nomination for another term was cleared by the Senate Commerce Committee, but it was blocked by Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK). The issue was over the FCC’s order to allow Ligado Networks to create a low-power 5G network on spectrum that has been used for radar and GPS.
“I extend my sincere congrats to Mr. Simington for selection to join @FCC, and offer best wishes for a smooth confirmation process and successful term at the Commission,” O’Rielly said in a message posted on Twitter. O’Rielly’s five-year term already expired, but he can continue to remain on the commission through the end of the year or until his successor is confirmed.
Simington also has been senior counsel to Brightstar Corporations, and was an attorney in private practice. He earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School, two Masters Degrees from the University of Rochester, and his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University. He is originally from Saskatoon, Canada and became an American citizen in 2017.
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