US President Donald Trump on Thursday (local time) signed an executive order aimed at increasing the ability of the government to regulate social media platforms.
Speaking from the Oval Office ahead of signing the order, Trump said that the move was to “defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history,” CNN reported.
“Today, I am signing an Executive Order to protect and uphold the free speech and rights of the American people.” pic.twitter.com/agTIJ2KR6C
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 28, 2020
“Companies that engage in censoring or any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield”, Trump said.
“That’s a big deal. They have a shield. They can do what they want, they’re not going to have that shield”, he added.
This comes after micro-blogging site, Twitter called his tweets ‘unsubstantiated’ and adding fact-check links.
Twitter fact-checked two of Trump’s tweets pertaining to mail-in ballots. The President had questioned the veracity of this method and had stated that this would make it easier for his opponents to rig the upcoming Presidential elections in the US.
The executive order tests the boundaries of the White House’s authority.
The order marks a dramatic escalation by Trump in his war with tech companies as they struggle with the growing problem of misinformation on social media.
On Thursday, Trump acknowledged that legal challenges to the order are on the horizon, saying he was ‘sure they will be doing a lawsuit’.
“I guess it is going to be challenged in court, what isn’t? But I think we are going to do very well,” he said.
That order would direct an agency within the Commerce Department to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify the scope of Section 230, a proposition that has already drawn rebukes from Democratic members of the commission.
Another section of the order would encourage federal agencies to review their spending on social media advertising.
(With ANI inputs)