Due to recent events, President Donald Trump is set to announce an executive order against social media companies on Thursday, days after Twitter called two of his tweets “potentially misleading”.
What We Know:
- The Trump administration is currently making a draft of the order which will test the boundaries of the White House’s authority. In a long-shot legal bid, it seeks to curtail the power of large social media platforms by reinterpreting a critical 1996 law that shields websites and tech companies from lawsuits.
- It marks a dramatic escalation by Trump in his war with tech companies as they struggle with the growing problem of misinformation on social media. The President has regularly accused sites of censoring conservative speech.
- The draft order, according to CNN, targets a law known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. This piece of legislation provides broad immunity to websites and ultimately protects freedom of expression and innovation on the Internet.
- It argues that the protections hinge mainly on tech platforms operating in “good faith,” and that social media companies have not.
- “In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online,” the draft order states. “This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”
- On Tuesday, Twitter applied a fact-check to two of Trump’s tweets, including one that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud. Trump immediately shot back, accusing the social media giant of censorship and warning that if it continued to offer addendums to his messages, he would use the power of the federal government to rein it in or even shut it down.
Other accusations of the order faults Google for helping the Chinese government surveil its citizens; Twitter for spreading Chinese propaganda; and Facebook for profiting from Chinese advertising. Many of these companies have yet to comment on this developing matter.