President Trump on Thursday signed a game-changing executive order that will level the political landscape by removing the bias in social media platforms like Twitter.
The order signed by the president would in essence remove classify social media platforms who engage in censorship and political conduct as publishers – thus removing the liability protections provided for them by the Communications Decency Act of 1996 (CDA).
“My executive order calls for new regulations under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to make it so that social media companies that engage in censoring any political conduct will not be able to keep their liability shield,” the president said.
Trump reiterated his stance on Twitter. “The choices that Twitter makes when it chooses to suppress, edit, blacklist, shadowban are editorial decisions, pure and simple. In those moments Twitter ceases to be a neutral public platform and they become an editor with a viewpoint.”
The order states, “Section 230 was not intended to allow a handful of companies to grow into titans controlling vital avenues for our national discourse under the guise of promoting open forums for debate, and then to provide those behemoths blanket immunity when they use their power to censor content and silence viewpoints that they dislike.”
The president also stated that he would “shut down” Twitter if he could legally. He also called out Facebook’s new oversight “tribunal” for hiring Pamela Karlan, the anti-Trump professor who testified at his impeachment hearing.
“What they’re doing is tantamount to monopoly, to taking over the airwaves,” Trump said. “Can’t let it happen. Or else we’re not gonna have a democracy.”
Trump said additionally that measures would be taken to prevent these platforms that are engaging in censorship from receiving taxpayer money. “Finally, I’m directing my administration to develop policies and procedures to ensure taxpayer dollars are not going to any social media company that suppresses free speech,” Trump said. “They’re rich enough.”
He added: “My executive order further instructs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit social media companies from engaging in any deceptive acts or practices affecting commerce. This commerce resides in Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act. … Additionally, I’m directing the attorney general to work cooperatively with the states … to enforce their own laws against such deceptive business practices. The states have broad and powerful authority to regulate in this arena.”
The president’s order came just two days after Twitter took the unprecedented step of slapping a “misleading” warning label on two of Trump’s tweets.
At the signing ceremony, Trump called the fact-check “egregious,” and held up a photo of Twitter executive Yoel Roth, who heads up the site’s fact-checking and rules-making operation.
It was reported on Wednesday that Roth has mocked Trump supporters, called Trump’s team “ACTUAL NAZIS,” slammed “scary trannies” in New York City, and called GOP Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a “bag of farts.”
“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,” Trump’s order reads. “Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.”
The White House had discussed a social media executive order for the past several months and CDA reforms have been something that politicians on both sides of the isle have long sought after.