Trump Orders DOJ To Probe Social Media Networks For Anti-Conservative Bias
According to ABC News, Trump is expected to sign an executive order Thursday that “could expose social media platforms to more regulations and lawsuits.”
- Trump announced his plans to order the Department of Justice to probe social media networks after Twitter fact-checked two of his tweets on mail-in voting fraud. Other Republican leaders also separately announced that they will take action against Twitter.
- The executive order will “make it easier for companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google to be held liable for the content posted on their platforms,” undermining Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which works to protect social media platforms from facing lawsuits over what users post.
- Attorney General Bill Barr also raised concerns over the federal law, saying Section 230 “has the potential to enable online child exploitation,” ABC News wrote.
- Although it is still being drafted, Trump’s order – which is tentatively titled “Preventing Online Censorship” – has been in the works since 2019.
- The draft “asks that the scope of Section 230 in a law known as the Communications Decency Act, which provides broad immunity to websites that curate and moderate their own platforms, be clarified by curbing some liability protections,” reported ABC News.
- Further, the draft order:
...proposed that an online tool for tech bias reporting created by the White House Office of Digital Strategy be reestablished to "collect complaints of online censorship and other potentially unfair or deceptive acts or practices by online platforms and shall submit complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). It directs the FTC to develop a report based off the complaints and make that report public, "consistent with applicable law."
Experts warn that Trump’s order could have a major impact on free speech on social media.
- Following Trump’s statements denouncing Twitter’s actions to add fact-checking features to two of his tweets, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded, saying that their “intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”
Trump stated, "As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the Internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our businesses, our newspapers, and our homes. It is essential to sustaining our democracy. 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. 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."