On early hours of May 29, 2020, (IST), USA President, Donald Trump, signed an executive order scrapping some of the legal protections accorded to social media platforms.
The row over this executive order started on May 26, 2020, when President Trump’s tweet on “Mail-In Ballots“, and also about the Minnesota protests, was fact-checked by the multi-corporation giant, Twitter. They labelled his Tweet and said that Trump’s claim is unsubstantiated or misleading to the general public.
On May 29, 2020, the twitter again labelled and highlighted his tweet on people protesting George Floyd’s murder, as ‘glorified violence’ and said that it “violated their Twitter rules.”
There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
….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
Twitter Response to Trump’s Glorification of Violence in George Floyd’s Police Killing
By targeting the Multi corporations like Twitter and Facebook on their fact-checking content analysis, Trump has again disclosed his behaviour of not tolerating anything from his meddling in elections to mishandling of COVID-19 crisis in US soil. However several legal experts believe that, such a narrow move will be challenged in the courts and easily will get stuck down for his embarrassment action.
The executive order, which mentions with his duty as President of USA under the Constitution and starts with Section 1: Policy as follows,
“Section 1. Policy. Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution. The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.”
And goes on to say that, some of the multi corporations like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube are curtailing the freedoms of US citizens, guaranteed under the US Constitution. And labelled their fact-checking mechanisms acts as “un-American and anti-democratic.”
While signing the executive order in the Oval Office, President Trump said, “We can’t allow that to happen,” and the Attorney General, William Barr who was accompanying President at that time, said that his administration would also push legislation to regulate the online companies.
The executive order further said that “Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias.”
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), 1996 is one of the most valuable tools for protecting the freedom of expression and innovation on the internet. Section 230 in part says that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”
The social media companies are currently from liability in case of a post by a third party, containing any false or misleading information in it. However, they are allowed to engage in a way to block certain content, such as removing content that is obscene, harassing or violent.
But, President Trumps wants this section to be removed or changed, to stop the social media giants, in doing fact checks and, thereby, giving the users absolute freedoms to go on with their false or threatening information.
To this, the order points out that, “Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.”
The executive order has sparked a debate on social platforms, whether this action was done in light of the 2020 November Presidential Election, and to stop debates about his failures during his first term in office.
The President’s Executive Order: