New York: Two days after Twitter introduced fact checks that showed up on US President Donald Trump’s tweets, Trump on Thursday signed an executive order threatening to slash protections for social media companies.
Trump’s actions seek to blunt Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act which immunises websites from legal liability for the comments of their users.
Trump is pushing the idea that Twitter’s fact checks amount to political activism and social media companies should not be shielded from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.
“We’re fed up with it,” Trump said moments before signing the executive order which he claimed would uphold freedom of speech.
“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted on Thursday morning. Trump railed on Twitter that tech giants “silence conservative voices.” “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”
Trump’s latest executive order directs the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to analyse whether they can rein in social media companies.
Experts say this is nothing more than a Trump-led distraction for the feeblest of fact checks by Twitter which took the form of a hyperlink, in baby blue, that tagged onto exactly two of Trump’s tweets.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey shared in public domain an updated version of the company’s civic integrity policy.
It says: “You may not use Twitter’s services for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes. This includes posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process.”
Twitter, no stranger to controversy, has stopped political ads on its platform since late 2019.