President Trump Moves to Sign Executive Order Aimed at Social Media Platforms

Posted: May 27, 2020 11:40 PM
President Trump Moves to Sign Executive Order Aimed at Social Media Platforms

Source: AP Photo/Alex Brandon

President Donald Trump will sign an executive order "pertaining to social media" on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters late Wednesday evening.

Trump took to Twitter to tell Americans to "stay tuned."

The move comes after Twitter fact-checked the president's tweets warning about the potential for voter fraud as more states move to absentee voting in the face of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic. It was the first time the social media giant applied the information label on one of Trump's tweets. 

Trump's claims that voter fraud is a problem could "contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots," a Twitter spokesperson told The Hill.

The president and his supporters quickly fired back at Twitter, saying the social media company continually censors conservatives.

“We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters. Partnering with the biased fake news media ‘fact checkers’ is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility,” Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, said in a statement following the decision.

According to POLITICO, Silicon Valley is concerned about "a 24-year-old statute that protects the companies from lawsuits — an avenue that a growing number of Republican lawmakers have advocated in their bias allegations" against various social media platforms. 

Two anonymous sources told The Washington Post that websites like Google, Facebook and Twitter could be penalized for how content is "moderated" on the various platforms. 

The law in question, the Communications Decent Act, protects website hosts and owners from being held liable for content that is produced by third parties. In this case, social media companies are not held responsible for the information that its users tweet or post.

From WaPo:

It would task the Commerce Department to petition the Federal Communications Commission to open a rulemaking proceeding to reconsider the scope of the law, the people familiar with the document said. It also would seek to channel complaints about political bias to the Federal Trade Commission for investigation, which would be encouraged to probe if tech companies’ content-moderation policies are in keeping with their pledges for neutrality. Lastly, it would require federal agencies to review their spending on social-media advertising, according to the people familiar with the White House’s thinking.

The executive order has gone through multiple iterations in recent years, and it may still change, the sources cautioned. Even so, it would be up to the FCC and FTC, two independent agencies operating outside the president’s cabinet, to determine exact courses of action once Trump signs it.

After facing backlash for not fact-checking the Chinese Communist Party, Twitter fact-checked the regime's spokesman for blatant lies about the Wuhan coronavirus.