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Trump To Sign Executive Order On Social Media Companies Today

by : Lucy Connolly on : 28 May 2020 13:30
Trump To Sign Executive Order On Social Media Companies TodayPA Images

Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order targeting social media companies later today, May 28, the White House has confirmed.

The news comes after the US President threatened to close down social media platforms that do not support his agenda after Twitter posted a fact-checking notice underneath some of his tweets, which claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud.

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Hours after the fact-checking notice – that took users to a page describing Trump’s claims as ‘unsubstantiated’ and ‘false’ – appeared, Trump went on a rant that saw him accusing Twitter of ‘completely stifling FREE SPEECH’ before saying he wouldn’t allow it to happen.

Donald TrumpPA Images

While White House officials gave no further information on what can be expected in the executive order, a draft copy seen by Reuters suggests the president will be ordering a review of a law that currently protects Twitter, Facebook and Google from being responsible for material posted by their users.

The executive order would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify and propose regulations under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law that mostly exempts online platforms from legal liability for material their users post.

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It also asks the FCC to determine whether actions related to the editing of content by social media companies should lead to the platform forfeiting its protections under section 230. If these changes came into action, they could expose social media companies to more lawsuits.

The draft order also proposes to re-establish a method to help users report cases of online censorship, known as the White House Tech Bias Reporting Tool. This tool is said to collect complaints of censorship and submit them to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The draft copy of the order could be changed before the measure is finalised.

President Donald TrumpPA Images

The draft order is also said to propose the attorney general set up a working group to look at state laws prohibiting online platforms engaging in unfair and deceptive acts, while also monitoring watch-lists of users based on their content or interactions with others online.

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These proposed actions, while slightly at odds with Trump’s threats to close down social media, do fit with his earlier warning that his administration would ‘strongly regulate [the companies]’ before he could ‘ever allow’ them to ‘totally silence conservatives [sic] voices’.

He continued:

We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again. Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country.

It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots. Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!

Shortly after the president made these claims, Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey said Trump’s tweets about California’s postal voting plans ‘may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot’.

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screenshot of Twitter's chief executive Jack Dorsey's tweetsjack/Twitter

In a series of posts, Dorsey said the platform will ‘continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally’, before adding: ‘More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.’

And he’s right, transparency is critical, especially when the President of the United States – arguably the most powerful man in the world – continues to post extremely dangerous falsehoods to his millions of followers every day.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: News, America, Donald Trump, Now, Politics, Social Media, Twitter, US

Credits

Reuters
  1. Reuters

    Trump's executive order targets political bias at Twitter and Facebook: draft