Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Social Media Platforms After Accusing Twitter For Censoring Speech

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Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Social Media Platforms After Accusing Twitter For Censoring Speech

US President Donald President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday targeting Facebook, Twitter, and Google platforms, amending the internet law that gives them legal immunity over content posted by their users.


According to the Los Angeles Times, on Thursday shortly before signing the order, Trump stated: “We’re fed up with it,”



The final executive order was released on Thursday by The White House, to lift platform liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The Section 230, provides internet companies with broad immunity from liability for the content their users post on their platforms. The executive order would lead to the Commerce Department and the Federal Communications Commission reinterpreting the law and allowing the Federal Trade Commission to create a tool for users to report bias online.


Trump himself said, “That’s a big deal. They have a shield. They can do what they want, they’re not going to have that shield.”


According to the order, the National Telecommunication and Information Administration has 60 days to file a petition for rulemaking with the FCC. Upon receiving the petition, the Trump administration is asking that the FCC reinterpret parts of Section 230 and decide what it means for a platform not to be acting in “good faith” under the provision.


Previously this week, Trump had launched into a rage against Twitter for ‘fact-checking’ one of his tweets regarding postal votes. Notorious for his use of twitter it is the first time the social-media platform has acted in this way towards the president.


On May 26th Trump tweeted that postal voting was unsafe and that any election would be challenged on validity grounds should large-scale postal voting take place (a possibility given the current pandemic and the upcoming November presidential election).



In response to this Twitter fact-checked the tweet by placing a link underneath the tweet where users could see other facts about postal-voting. This enraged the president who then tweeted:
"Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen."



He then threatened to ‘strongly regulate’ those social-media platforms that act in such a way. It should be pointed out that Twitter did not actually censor his tweet, simply accompanying it with a fact-check link.


A higher-up in the Trump administration said to news site Politico:
“These platforms act like they are potted plants when [in reality] they are curators of user experiences, i.e. the man behind the curtain for everything we can see or hear.”


This regulation, it is speculated, could involve the repealing of a 1996 statute that protects media companies from lawsuits. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act means that companies can not be sued for “taking good-faith efforts to curb illicit material”. In effect it would mean Twitter could be sued for censoring speech made by political figures and activists.


CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey, defended the actions of Twitter by saying that they were in no way censoring Trump but simply offering other sources so readers could obtain a more rounded view. He said:
“Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves”.


Trump then went on to attack a Twitter employee who had previously made statements against the Trump administration calling Yoel Roth a ‘hater’:



The executive order placed by Trump could have far reaching consequences for how social media platforms act and are censored. This story will have implications long into the future and especially in the run up to November’s elections.

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Thinking Humanity: Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Social Media Platforms After Accusing Twitter For Censoring Speech
Trump Signs Executive Order Targeting Social Media Platforms After Accusing Twitter For Censoring Speech
US President Donald President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday targeting Facebook, Twitter, and Google platforms, amending the internet law that gives them legal immunity over content posted by their users. According to the Los Angeles Times, on Thursday shortly before signing the order, Trump stated: “We’re fed up with it,” The final executive order was released on Thursday by The White House, to lift platform liability protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
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