Donald Trump is once again feuding with social media companies and this time it’s not just a Twitter spat.
After Twitter fact-checked the US president over a false claim, Trump started a new war against social media companies in order to ‘prevent online censorship’.
Even more, Trump signed an executive order last night, trying to “defend” free speech on social platforms.
His beef with Twitter, Facebook and others?
“Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse. Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms “flagging” content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse,” the president said in the executive order.
The key message, however?
“Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. As has been reported, Twitter seems never to have placed such a label on another politician’s tweet. As recently as last week, Representative Adam Schiff was continuing to mislead his followers by peddling the long-disproved Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter did not flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.”
However, it’s hard to ignore the fact that a sitting president issued an executive order in response to a platform fact-checking his statements.
Currently, social media companies are not held accountable for what their users post and are immune from civil lawsuits because they are classified as “platforms” instead of “publishers”.
Trump’s order wants to add pressure to regulators to change this and, of course, to have Twitter stop being “unfair” with his posts.
Previously, he also tried arguing with Twitter over the fact that a court ruled he cannot block users from following his Tweets.
The social company responded, calling the order “a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law” and saying the move “threatened the future of online speech”.
Donald Trump responded by bringing in Facebook into the fray and saying Mark Zuckerberg shares his opinions.
With social unrest growing due to COVID-19 measures and Minneapolis engulfed in riots, will this latest scandal manage to sway public discussion?
We will see in the following days.