President Trump signs order curbing social media giants' protections

28 May 2020, 21:36

President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order aimed at curbing protections for social media giants
President Donald Trump speaks before signing an executive order aimed at curbing protections for social media giants. Picture: PA

By Megan White

President Donald Trump has signed an order aimed at curbing protections for social media giants after Twitter applied fact checks to two of his tweets.

The US leader escalated his war on social media companies on Thursday, signing an executive order challenging the liability protections that have served as a bedrock for unfettered speech on the internet.

But the move appears to be more about politics than substance, as the president aims to rally supporters after he lashed out at Twitter for applying fact checks to two of his tweets.

President Trump said the fact checks were "editorial decisions" by Twitter and amounted to political activism.

He said it should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

President Donald Trump holds up a copy of the New York Post as speaks before signing an executive order
President Donald Trump holds up a copy of the New York Post as speaks before signing an executive order. Picture: PA

President Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to attack their enemies, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts.

"We're fed up with it," President Trump said, claiming the order would uphold freedom of speech.

It directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies - though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

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