As part of retaliation against the recent event of Twitter Inc.’s (Twitter) fact-checked tweets sent by US President Donald Trump, White House officials said that Trump would sign an executive order on social media companies on Thursday, May 28, 2020. The day before, Trump threatened to shut down social media websites as he accused them of stifling conservative voices.
Twitter and Trump Disputes
Confrontation emerged on Tuesday, May 26, 2020, after Twitter for the first time-tagged Trump’s tweets about the mail-in voting statement and marked it as an unsubstantiated claim of fraud, which was confirmed after its readers conducted a fact-checking of the content. Trump shared the same content on Facebook and received thousands of views but the social media company decide to leave Trump’s post on mail-in ballots untouched.
Twitter explained that Trump’s tweets were labeled as part of efforts to enforce the company’s “civic integrity policy,” which aims to protect circulation of false information or misinformation about elections or other civic processes from its platform. Late on Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said Trump’s tweets about California’s vote-by-mail plans “may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot.”
In an interview with Fox News Channel on Wednesday, Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg said censoring a social network platform would not be the “right reflex” for a government worried about censorship. Moreover, the American Civil Liberties Union said the First Amendment of the US Constitution limits any action Trump could take.
Trump Termed Media Companies as Political Biasness
Following the dramatic incident with Twitter, Trump said in a pair of additional posts on Twitter on Wednesday, “Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives’ voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down before we can ever allow this to happen.”
The president, who has more than 80 million followers on Twitter, warned, “Clean up your act, NOW!!!!” by tweeting that “Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election.” Trump added on Wednesday, “If that happens, we no longer have our freedom.”
Nonetheless, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals in Washington on Wednesday supported the dismissal of a lawsuit by a conservative group against tech giants including Google, Facebook, Twitter, and Apple by accusing them of conspiring to suppress conservative political views.
The Internet Association, which includes Twitter and Facebook among its members, responded that online platforms were not subscribing to political biases but offering moments for “more people a chance to be heard than at any point in history.” Meanwhile, Republican Senator Josh Hawley, a critic of Big Tech companies, sent a letter to Dorsey asking why Twitter should continue to receive legal immunity after “choosing to editorialize on President Trump’s tweets.”
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