President Donald Trump looks to have the upper hand vs. Twitter. Trump locked in what amounts to a super high stakes poker game against the social media titan. And he showed his ace in the hole as he announced an executive order aimed at social media companies coming on Thursday.
the announcement revived fears within the online industry that the Trump administration will target a 24-year-old statute that protects the companies from lawsuits — an avenue that a growing number of Republican lawmakers have advocated in their bias allegations about Silicon Valley.
Trump and supporters have been hammering Twitter since the social network labeled a pair of his tweets with a fact-checking notice for the first time on Tuesday, and the president pledged Wednesday “big action” will follow.
Twitter acted after he had alleged…that mail-in ballots are likely to be “substantially fraudulent,” in tweets that the company said contained misleading information about the electoral process. The move triggered an array of rebukes from Republicans.
The president alleged that, “@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!”
FCC member Brendan Carr told, “I think going forward if these entities want to be political actors … like every other political actor, they have First Amendment rights, though they shouldn’t necessarily have these special bonus protections that only that set of political actors have in Section 230.”
Carr blasted social media companies for framing themselves as politically neutral before Congress then engaging in what he deemed utterly partisan behavior. “That’s the type of unfair or deceptive business practice that would get a lot of other companies under a lot of federal scrutiny, including from the Federal Trade Commission.”
But across the aisle tells a different story. “Twitter’s milquetoast labeling of two Trump lies — out of thousands — prompts horrifying demagogic response: shut down the internet,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) tweeted after Trump’s Wednesday remarks. “His fear-mongering & conspiracy theory peddling is irresponsible, inexcusable, & authoritarian.”
GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri added, “If @Twitter wants to editorialize & comment on users’ posts, it should be divested of its special status under federal law (Section 230) & forced to play by same rules as all other publishers. Fair is fair.”
Trump took to Twitter this evening as he argued, “Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!”
Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 28, 2020