President Trump intends to sign an executive order on Thursday regarding social media and big technology companies. The order comes on the heels of a fact-check on the president from Twitter, related to President Trump’s sentiment regarding voting by mail.
The president is using section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to back up his grievance with social media companies, a provision which intends to allow free speech to flourish by shielding providers from liability. Under current laws, social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook are not held liable for the validity or factuality of posts:
"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."
President Trump's executive order adds regulations to section 230 to limit these liability protections for companies that editorialize or censor content or speech. The president also noted that he will instruct the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to act as a check on reported political bias. President Trump noted that Twitter fact-checked his tweet about mail-in voting, but has left propaganda pushed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unchecked until recently.
“Today, I am signing an executive order to protect and uphold the free speech and rights of the American people.”— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) May 28, 2020
Trump says social media companies like Twitter currently receive “an unprecedented liability shield” pic.twitter.com/gZMLZEZ1fu
President Trump partnered with Attorney General Bill Barr in this effort. AG Barr contends that the new order does not repeal section 230, but rather an accountability measure to ensure that the law is interpreted correctly. Section 230 has seen mass criticism from Republicans and Democrats who argue that the law allows social media companies to avoid the responsibility to ensure truth is present online.
The executive order is expected to be challenged in court on its constitutionality.