Friday, May 29, 2020
Twitter Hits Back at Trump’s EO Targeting Social Media Sites
Twitter struck back at President Trump’s executive order targeting social media giants on Thursday, saying it threatens the future of online speech and internet freedoms.
“This EO is a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law,” Twitter’s Global Public Policy team said in a statement.
The order directs federal agencies to look at whether they can place new regulations on tech giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google, which owns YouTube.
Specifically, Trump wants to remove or change part of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 landmark law that shields social media companies from liability for material posted by their users.
This allows them to be treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers” that can be sued for libel.
“#Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values,” Twitter’s statement said.
“Attempts to unilaterally erode [Section 230] threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms,” it added.
Trump signed the order two days after Twitter slapped fact-check labels on a pair of his missives about fraud in mail-in voting for the first time.
The president made the case that social media platforms that engage in bad-faith “editorial decisions” — including, in his view, adding fact-check labels — should be stripped of their immunity from lawsuits.
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey on the internet,” the order says.
“This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”
A Facebook spokesman said scrapping or weakening Section 230 will end up restricting more speech online and encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone.
A Google spokeswoman said “undermining Section 230 in this way would hurt America’s economy and its global leadership on internet freedom.”
With Post wires