On May 26th, Twitter introduced a fact-checking function that introduced a prompt under US President Donald Trump’s tweets.
This followed a tweet by Trump regarding mail-in ballots for the US Presidential elections.
A Twitter spokesperson said the pair of tweets from the president “contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots.”
“This decision is in line with the approach we shared earlier this month,” the spokesperson said, linking to the company’s recent blog post on its misinformation policies.
In a rection to Twitter’s decision, Trump immediately responded, claiming that the social media platform is interfering in the 2020 elections and repeated his claims.
….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
Finally, Trump said that social media platforms would have to be either regulated or shut down, because they were silencing conservative voices, for labeling his misleading tweets as such.
….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!!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2020
On May 28th, reports surfaced that Trump planned to sign an executive order on social media.
On May 29th, he did, in fact, sign an executive order on “Preventing Online Censorship.”
It calls for the FCC to take up regulations that could limit the scope of immunity granted to platforms under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
For instance, Twitter cannot be held liable if a user posts defamatory content, and it also has immunity for removing content that it, in “good faith,” restricts access to “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable content.”
But under the draft executive order, the FCC would be tasked with clarifying whether tech platform’s moderation of the third party content is made in “good faith,” including whether the sites are being deceptive or inconsistent with their terms of service, or made with “unreasoned explanation.”
Steve LoBianco, the president NetChoice, a trade group that represents Google, Facebook and Twitter and promotes light touch regulation, said in a statement:
“Conservatives should be very afraid of future administrations following President Trump’s example to bully social media platforms into suppressing political speech.”
“By harassing America’s tech industry, the administration emboldens foreign governments to control online expression,” he added. “Conservatives have truly lost their way if they believe that the government should dictate the terms of online political speech.”
Facebook and Google said Trump’s proposal risks harming the internet and digital economy.
“By exposing companies to potential liability for everything that billions of people around the world say, this would penalize companies that choose to allow controversial speech and encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone,” Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said in a statement.
“Our platforms have empowered a wide range of people and organizations from across the political spectrum, giving them a voice and new ways to reach their audiences,” Google spokeswoman Riva Sciuto said. “Undermining Section 230 in this way would hurt America’s economy and its global leadership on internet freedom.”
Twitter said late May 28th that Trump’s order “is a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law.”
This EO is a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law. #Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values. Attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) May 29, 2020
Then, on May 29th, Trump went to Twitter to condemn the situation in Minneapolis where citizens have taken to streets in riots after a police officer killed the handcuffed 42-year-old George Floyd.
According to him the “thugs” who were protesting and destroying public property, were disrespecting Floyd’s memory and that he would order the national guard open fire on citizens if they begin looting.
….These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2020
The tweet is tagged as violating Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- While Trump Warns Tehran Of Censorship, Facebook’s Thought Police Censor Pro-Iran Tweets
- Amnesty International Proposes To Replace Corporate Censorship With Government Censorship
- Canadian Cartoonist Fired After Trump Cartoon Goes Viral, But “Censorship Isn’t Real”