Trump to sign executive order on social media amid Twitter furor
Trump's "war" with the media picks up!
"President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order aimed at social media companies Thursday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday evening, a move that comes as the president and his allies have escalated their allegations that companies like Twitter and Facebook stifle GOP voices.
The announcement revived fears within the online industry that the Trump administration will target a 1996 statute that protects the companies from lawsuits — an avenue that a growing number of Republican lawmakers are advocating as they press their bias accusations about Silicon Valley.
The statute has helped tech giants earn many billions of dollars from users' tweets, posts, likes, photos and videos, with limited legal liability, while giving them broad leeway to remove material they consider "objectionable." But Trump and his supporters contend they are abusing that power.
"These platforms act like they are potted plants when [in reality] they are curators of user experiences, i.e. the man behind the curtain for everything we can see or hear,” an administration official familiar with the issue said Wednesday night. The person said the order, which was described as broad and high level, would address complaints that the online platforms are deceiving people by picking and choosing what content to allow or block instead of acting as politically neutral platforms or moderators.
The official cautioned that the order's language was likely to change by Thursday.
Any attempt to go after the tech companies through regulations could face serious obstacles, however. The president's own regulators have shown little appetite in the past for taking on scrutiny of tweets and Facebook posts, and federal courts have ruled as recently as Wednesday morning that social media companies are private entities with the legal right to police content on their sites.
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"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," Trump tweeted late Wednesday night to his 80 million Twitter followers, after sounding the same theme more than 14 hours earlier. "I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!"
Early Wednesday morning, he had vowed to "strongly regulate" biased social media companies, or even "close them down."
Democrats, meanwhile, have complained that Twitter has been too slow to respond to a litany of abusive, inaccurate or inflammatory tweets from the president, including his recent insinuations that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough may be guilty of murder."
Now there's a "hot topic" for you. Read the rest of that article to see all the parties weighing in on the various sides of the argument.