Donald Trump has been at war with Twitter, since the social media platform flagged his recent tweets for fact checking.
The US president is set to take action against Twitter, Facebook and social media networks and technology giants, by narrowing down the liability protections against third party posts the companies enjoy. This is according to a draft of an executive order.
The companies enjoy protections against lawsuits when they act in ‘good faith’ by taking down or limiting the spread and visibility of inappropriate posts, videos and images. However, the law does not define ‘bad faith’. The draft order aims to push the Federal Communications Commission to issue rules to clarify the issue. The move could allow users to sue the companies over removal or flagging down of posts if the actions are inconsistent with their terms of service, did not provide adequate notice or meet other criteria.
The draft order would also work with the Justice department to convene a group of state attorneys who will dig out any deceptive measures and review executive ad spending on the networks.
“Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election,” President Trump tweeted on Wednesday night. “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!!!” said Trump.
Word of the impending executive order came a day after Twitter added fact checking links to his tweets which claimed that mail-in-voting leads to rampant fraud.
Twitter has been President Trump’s preferred platform to address issues as it has often given him the power to dodge the media and speak directly to the US citizens. It has also given the president a platform to attack his rivals, and with his vast followers, spread Pro-Trump messages. He also uses Twitter as a punching bag, often to generate outrage and evoke public sympathy.
The social media platform has even been more beneficial, especially during this corona virus pandemic, as President Trump has not been able to hold his trademark rallies. He also needs the platform to attack his Democrat challenger, Joe Biden.
“He’s going to need to continue to use this platform,” said Amy Becker, a professor at Loyola University Maryland, who focuses on political communication. “It’s going to be his random tweets, it’s going to be him attacking whoever criticizes him, there’s going to be a lot of attacks on Biden, the Democrats.”
Senator Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, wrote to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding an explanation for the fact checking links that had been added to Trump’s tweets.
“Politicians can use the powers of government to make life very difficult for private companies and there’s a long track record of politicians from both parties doing this in the last couple years to social media companies,” said Jesse Blumenthal, a conservative who leads tech policy at Stand Together.