President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday that would ask federal regulators to take action against tech companies he alleges are restricting speech on their platforms.
The new order says there will now be a federal review of social media practices in an attempt to “prevent online censorship.”
“We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms,” Trump said. “And encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.”
While the policy objectives have yet to be put together, the order says that the attorney general will be working to create a proposal for it. Whether this will amount to tangible action is unclear.
According to the order, online platforms are defined as “Any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.”
Trump has been less than pleased with Twitter, as it recently launched a tool that would “fact check” tweets. The president’s tweets on Tuesday alleging that mail-in balloting would result in voter fraud were flagged, and a link labeled “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” appeared below his tweets.
Trump’s response was a tweet saying, “Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election,” later adding that Twitter was “stifling” free speech.
In response to Trump’s disapproval of Twitter’s fact checking feature, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said, “Fact check: There is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me. Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also responded to the order, telling Fox News, “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also made a statement regarding the executive order, saying, “Regardless of the circumstances that led up to this, this is not how public policy is made in the United States. An executive order cannot be properly used to change federal law.”
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