WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 28th May, 2020) US President Donald Trump is getting ready to sign an executive order that could open the door for federal regulators to penalize social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Google for censoring online content, The Hill reported citing a draft of the order.
"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 online," the draft order said. "When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power."
The president's action comes after unprecedented decision by Twitter this week to apply a fact-checking label to his content. The label, which Twitter has allegedly designed to combat misinformation and unverified claims, linked to a curated page with links and summaries of articles claiming Trump's statements on mail-in ballots are unfounded.
Trump flagged the upcoming executive order in a tweet on Thursday morning, among the many he fired off.
"This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!" he said.
The US president issued another tweet a couple of hours later that read: "So ridiculous to see Twitter trying to make the case that Mail-In Ballots are not subject to FRAUD. How stupid, there are examples, and cases, all over the place. Our election process will become badly tainted & a laughingstock all over the World. Tell that to your hater."
In his original criticism of Twitter on Tuesday, Trump accused the social media platform of "interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election" and "stifling FREE SPEECH." He added that he "will not allow it to happen!"
Trump's executive order would direct an agency within the Commerce Department to file a petition with the Federal Communications Commission to clarify the scope of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that is considered foundational to the internet's expansion, the report said.
The statute provides platforms legal immunity for content posted by third-party users while also giving them legal cover to make good-faith efforts to moderate their platforms, the report added.