Trump signs social media executive order targeting political bias

Ruben Fields
May 29, 2020

I think Facebook has made tens of billions of dollars during this time when people are so reliance on social media.

Twitter on Wednesday added fact-checking warnings to tweets by a Chinese government spokesman which falsely accused the U.S. government of causing the coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Post.

Currently, the law states that social media companies shouldn't be "treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider".

Earlier Thursday, Trump called out a single Twitter employee, head of site integrity Yoel Roth, Ton hursday in a tweet complaining that the platform's decision to fact-check his tweets on voting by mail could "taint" the USA election. You have FaceBook and you have Twitter and you - you have [Facebook CEO] Mark Zuckerberg, who said it's not my job to be the arbiter of truth. "Per our Civic Integrity policy (https://help.twitter.com/en/rules-and-policies/election-integrity-policy), the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don't need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots)". Twitter had subsequently applied a "fact-checking" label on this tweet, which read "Get the facts about mail-in ballots" and linked it to a page that described the claims as "unsubstantiated".

Section 230 - which the White House is seeking to curtail as part of its war with Silicon Valley - was included in the 1996 Communications Decency Act to protect online service providers from lawsuits based on user-generated content. You have that model and then you have the [Twitter boss Jack] Dorsey model, which is completely incoherent in the way it's deployed and not fact-checking Chinese propaganda until minutes ago but fact-checking the president in a way that is untruthful, ' she said. In fact, she said, it was meant to encourage companies to keep an eye on the conversations on their sites.

"Trump's threat to use the executive branch's power to punish internet companies for Twitter's mild fact check of his statements is exactly the kind of abuse of power that the Constitution and our First Amendment were written to prevent", Laroia said in a statement. The order appears tailored to hurt the largest platforms like Facebook and Twitter the most.

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While slamming social media platforms' alleged editorial bias, the United States president told reporters that his executive order will remove the liability shield that now protects the platforms.

It's unclear whether such regulations would pass judicial scrutiny, and legal experts are skeptical given the wide berth given to social media companies to police their own platforms.

Backers of Trump's order, such as Sen.

Trump has threatened to take action against social media companies which he has accused of trying to "silence conservative voices", saying that "we will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen".

It said at the time that it would later extend the COVID-19 policy to other types of disputed or misleading information. It represents the latest attempt by Trump to use the tools of the Presidency to force private companies to change policies that he believes are not favourable to him.

"After taking too long to act, Twitter once again came up short out of fear of upsetting Trump", the party said in a statement.

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