President Donald Trump echoed his inflammatory statement that “looting leads to shooting” in a tweet before he would start a press conference after the night-time turmoil in Minneapolis.
Trump attempted to justify his use of the language, even after Twitter issued a warning of “glorifying violence” amid clashes between police, protesters and rioters following the murder of George Flloyd.
Looting leads to shooting, which is why a man was shot and killed Wednesday night in Minneapolis – or look at what just happened in Louisville with 7 people shot. I don’t want this to happen, and that’s what the phrase put out last night means, ‘Trump wrote after his press’s official start time on Friday afternoon.
He then tried to explain – although he didn’t go back on his tweet, which found language linked to historical connections to a notorious anti-black police chief who openly bragged about committing state violence against looters.
The late Miami police chief, Walter Headley, issued a ‘get tough’ policy against black protesters during race riots in the city in the 1960s.
“We don’t mind being charged with police brutality,” Headley told the New York Times at the time. “They haven’t seen anything yet.”
The president said he did not urge the police to shoot suspects, then shouted unnamed haters.
“It was spoken of as a fact, not an explanation. It’s very simple, no one should have any problem with this except the haters and those who want to cause trouble on social media. Honor the memory of George Floyd!
Twitter flagged President Trump’s tweet, saying it was ‘glorifying violence’ for the second time after the official White House account reposted it on Friday morning.
These THUGS dishonor the memory of George Floyd, and I’m not going to let that happen. I just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him the army is with him all the time. Any difficulty and we will take control, but when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!’ read the tweet.
There has been chaos in the city of Minnesota since a white police officer took the life of a black man, George Floyd, by kneeling him in the neck until he stopped breathing.
Trump initially posted it to his @ realDonaldTrump account at 1am.
The company posted a warning label on the tweet that it was breaking the rules.
When the President woke up on Friday morning, he began to attack Twitter furiously.
“Twitter does nothing about all the lies and propaganda spread by China or the radical left democratic party. They are aimed at republicans, conservatives and the President of the United States, “the president wrote. Section 230 is to be repealed by Congress. Until then it will be regulated! ‘
He had then the official White House account literally put the highlighted tweet back and challenge the social media company to act.
Trump’s tweet at 1 a.m. described the looters as “criminals” and warned that the federal government would “take control” by “shooting” if necessary after protesters set fire to a police station.
Twitter today added its second warning to a four-day Donald Trump tweet by covering the president’s message about the Minneapolis riots saying it “glorifies the violence”
Shortly after complaining that Twitter posted a warning label on his tweet, the official White House Twitter account literally reposted the message
The White House tweet version was also flagged for violating Twitter’s rules on ‘glorifying violence’
President Donald Trump renewed his attack with Twitter on Friday morning after the website posted a warning label on one of his tweets
President Trump tweeted Friday morning that Twitter needed to be “regulated” after the site put a warning label on one of his tweets about the Minneapolis riots
Trump’s comment about the Minneapolis protests (pictured last night) that ‘when the looting begins, the shooting begins’ now hidden by a warning that it violates Twitter’s rules – but the message can be bypassed and the tweet remains live
Minneapolis has witnessed four days of protests, causing widespread destruction and fires in the twin cities of Minneaplis and St. Paul
Demonstrators set fire to the 3rd district of Minneapolis Police on Thursday evening. President Trump responded to the protests with a controversial tweet at 1 a.m. on Friday
Law enforcement officers were photographed in the early hours of Friday when fires were burning in Minneapolis after a night of protests over the death of George Floyd
Later on Friday morning, the official White House account remained involved in the president’s feud with Twitter, noting a tweet from Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei calling for #jihad against Israel
What is Donald Trump’s executive mission focused on social media sites?
Donald Trump signed an order on Thursday to hold social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook accountable for the content posted by their users.
If enforced, the warrant would overturn decades of precedent by treating the websites as “publishers” that could be sued for user-generated content.
It could open them to a stream of lawsuits from anyone who claims to have been harmed by content posted online.
Currently, the sites are protected by a law known as Section 230, which protects them from liability.
Section 230 also allows social platforms to moderate their services by removing messages that are, for example, obscene or violating the services’ own standards, as long as they act in good faith.
The author of a section 230 book said social media companies “based their business models on major user content platforms,” saying they would not “exist in their current form” without the legislation.
Critics, however, argue that Article 230 gives internet companies free access to things like hate speech and content that support terror organizations.
Trump signed the order after Twitter checked two of his tweets about voting by mail for facts.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley said the “censorship” was relevant to Trump’s proposal because websites that “redact and censor” like Twitter reportedly did should be treated “as traditional publishers” in law.
Critics, however, saw Trump’s order as an act of political revenge against websites he has long accused of political bias.
The American Civil Liberties Union called Trump’s order “a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the President.”
An ACLU official said the measure could actually harm Trump by encouraging a more cautious Twitter to limit the president’s tweets.
Eric Goldman, director of the High-Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, said the warrant is “not legally enforceable.”
Twitter said the warrant was a political move that attacked free speech, while Facebook said the measure would “encourage platforms to censor anything that could offend anyone.”
@ WhiteHouse’s account continued to join the fight by linking to a tweet sent by Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week calling for #jihad against Israel.
This tweet violated Twitter’s rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it will allow terrorists, dictators and foreign propagandists to abuse its platform, “said a tweet from the official White House account.
On the original offensive Trump tweet, Twitter posted a warning less than three hours later stating that it had “ taken action to prevent others from being inspired to commit violent acts. ” Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, was informed in advance.
The tweet can no longer be liked or replied and will not be recommended by Twitter’s algorithm, although retweets with commentary are still possible – with Trump’s message initially hidden.
It is still possible to ignore the warning and watch the tweet, under special rules for government officials protecting the public’s right to know what their politicians have said.
Trump has been arguing with the social media site for checking his tweets in recent days.
Also on Friday morning he quoted Maria Bartiromo of Fox News, “the president is the target of Twitter.”
Trump then added, “What about all the lies and fraudulent statements made by Adam Schiff and many others about the Russian witch hunt Plus, Plus, Plus? What about China’s propaganda? WHO’s mistakes? No flags? ‘ he asked.
He then quoted Jeanine Pirro, a Trump Fox News pro-personality, who also called for Twitter regulation.
The president had signed an executive order on Thursday seeking to deprive social media giants of their legal protections, potentially exposing them to a flood of lawsuits, but supported Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg who distanced himself from Twitter.
Twitter had posted a fact-checking label on two of Trump’s tweets on Tuesday, stating that postal voting in the 2020 election would be “ significantly fraudulent. ”
And then attached the warning label to his tweet at 1 a.m.
That message was in response to a first tweet – not marked in red by Twitter – that addressed the Democratic Mayor of Minneapolis for his handling of the crisis.
Twitter announced the “public interest notice” on the “shoot” tweet about three hours after Trump sent the message.
The social media giant said Trump’s tweet “violates our policy regarding the glorification of violence based on the historical context of the last line, its link to violence and the risk that it could inspire similar actions today.”
As standard with this post, engagements with the tweet will be limited. People can retweet with comments, but they can’t like, reply or retweet it, “said a statement.
However, Twitter said it is “in the public interest to keep the tweet accessible,” given its “relevance to current matters of general interest.”
Tweets of elected officers are exempt from usual rules because there is “a high public interest in knowing and discussing their actions and statements,” according to the company’s policy.
“As a result, on rare occasions we may choose to leave a Tweet from an elected or government official who would otherwise be removed.”
These exceptions are only available for accounts with more than 100,000 followers. Trump has over 80 million.
The website said Axios that “teams within Twitter” had decided to flag the president’s tweet with a red flag and that CEO Jack Dorsey was informed before it happened.
Trump has yet to respond to the warning message, which appeared in Washington at around 4 a.m.
The president’s threat to looters came after a third night of protests in Minneapolis, accompanied by further rallies in the United States.
Hundreds of National Guard soldiers were deployed to the streets of Minneapolis, and neighboring St. Paul and Mayor Frey declared a state of emergency as riots escalated and cars and buildings were torched throughout the city.
“The National Guard has arrived. They are in Minneapolis and fully prepared. George Floyd will not have died for nothing. Respect his memory !!! Trump tweeted Friday mid-morning. He has a misspelled scene.
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez was arrested live in the air by Minnesota state police on Friday for apparently refusing to move while told, despite being heard on camera and telling the police ‘tell us where you want us to go , we want to go wherever you are. ” Other white reporters say they were allowed to stay without incident
Jimenez was released shortly after about 90 minutes and returned to the air. He said that no one had been violent against him and that all officers were “cordial.”
President Trump tweeted about the National Guard coming Friday mid-morning, adding, “George Floyd will not have died in vain. He has a misspelled scene
Minneapolis Police Department Third Precinct was set on fire and evacuated for fear it might explode after the gas lines were cut.
Frey called the pillage “unacceptable,” but was furious with Trump for “refusing to take responsibility for your own actions,” saying the president “knew nothing about the power of Minneapolis.”
CNN reporter Omar Jimenez, who is black, was arrested by Minneapolis police during a live recording, amplifying racial outrage.
In New York City, NYPD agents were seen on the ground with protesters, while at least 70 people were arrested in the city.
Ohio protesters smashed the windows of the downtown Columbus state house and looted the building, while protesters damaged a police car in downtown Los Angeles.
In Kentucky, seven people were shot in downtown Louisville during a protest that demanded justice for the black woman Breonna Taylor shot by police in March – a case that has come back into the spotlight after Floyd’s death.
Floyd, 46, died on Monday after a white police officer tied him with his knee, despite Floyd begging that he couldn’t breathe.
President Trump on Thursday praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for criticizing Twitter’s decision to monitor the tweets. Zuckerberg has been accused by Democrats of admitting to the President with his comments on censorship
President Trump shared a comment from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday when he hit Twitter
The latest escalation in the president’s feud with Twitter comes just hours after he signed an order to remove legal protections for social media companies, which he accuses of political bias.
The warrant could open Twitter, Facebook and Google to lawsuits by weakening the legal protections that prevent them from being liable for posts on their platforms, as well as moderating content.
Trump’s executive said that websites like Twitter and Facebook “ have tremendous if not unprecedented power to shape the interpretation of public events. ” Twitter said the injunction was a political move that attacked free speech.
Trump also praised Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for criticizing Twitter’s decision to monitor the tweets. “CEO Mark Zuckerberg criticizes Twitter today,” Trump wrote before sharing Zuckerberg’s statement.
“We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter about this,” Zuckerberg said in an interview with Fox news.
“I’m just convinced that Facebook should not be the arbiter of the truth about everything people say online,” he added.
“Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies.”
Zuckerberg has been accused by Democrats of brandishing the president with his comments about censorship so that Facebook does not become the target.
Zuckerberg sued Fox News – a hate-for-profit machine that gives a megaphone to racists and conspiracy theorists – to talk about how social media platforms should essentially make politicians lie without consequences. This affects our democracy, “said Senator Elizabeth Warren.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi punched harder, saying Trump used the feud as a distraction from the corona virus outbreak.
“It is outrageous, but it is an outrageous situation,” Pelosi said at a news conference on Thursday. “While Twitter is checking the facts under what the President is saying about voting, it still won’t clear up the President’s misrepresentations there.”
“Facebook, everyone, it’s all about making money,” she said. “Their business model is making money at the expense of the truth and the facts they know. And they defend, they defend that. ‘
After emphasizing Zuckerberg’s statement, Trump asked, “Has Twitter criticized Obama for his ‘you can keep your doctor'”? ‘
The president referred to Obama’s on the assurance that “if you can keep the doctor you have, keep your doctor” under the Affordable Care Act, which he was trying to send through Congress at the time.
However, this promise was later abandoned and Obama admitted that some people “should eventually change doctors.”
In a later tweet, Trump also renewed his questionable allegations of voter fraud over the post, which had primarily earned him the wrong information tag from Twitter.
Trump claimed that mail-in voting – which is high on the agenda because of the risks of personal voting during the pandemic – would lead to ‘massive fraud and abuse’ and ‘the end of our big Republican Party.’
Twitter has not marked yesterday’s comments in red, as it had for its tweets on Tuesday, which now appear with a warning sign and a link to “ find out the facts about mail-in ballots. ”
Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, was criticized by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for checking Trump’s tweets.
Trump also renewed his questionable allegations of voter fraud at the post on Thursday evening, putting him in the first place with the wrong information tag from Twitter
Trump spoke to Attorney General Bill Barr in the White House who looked over his shoulder
Trump accused Twitter of becoming an ‘editor with a position’ and not a ‘neutral platform’ by checking for facts.
The president also hit one of his executives, Yoel Roth, the head of user integrity, and accused him of “fraud” for the fact-checking. Twitter says he was not involved.
When asked if he wanted to get rid of Twitter, he said, “If it was legal, and if it could be closed legally, I would.”
Trump rolled out the harsh language as Attorney General Bill Barr watched and the President signed an order that could expose Twitter and other social media platforms to a barrage of lawsuits.
Barr said that when companies “curate” their collection and engage in “censoring” content, companies become “publishers” and are not entitled to a legal “shield.”
SECTION 230: LEGISLATION TARGETS MORE THAN CLAIMS OF SOCIAL MEDIA BIAS
With twenty-six words put into a 1996 law reforming telecommunications, companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have become the giants they are today.
Those are the words President Donald Trump challenged in an executive order on Thursday, one that would remove protection if online platforms engage in “ editorial decisions ” – including, in the president’s opinion, add a fact-check warning to one of Trump’s tweets.
Under US law, Internet companies are generally exempt from liability for the physical users who post on their networks. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (1996), which itself is part of a broader telecom law, provides a legal ‘safe haven’ for internet companies.
But Trump and other politicians claim that Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms that have abused protection and should lose their immunity – or at least earn it by meeting government demands.
Section 230 probably cannot be easily dismantled. But if it were, the internet as we know it would cease to exist.
What is section 230?
If a news site falsely calls you a scammer, you can sue the publisher for defamation. But if someone posts that on Facebook, you can’t sue the company – just the person who posted it.
This is due to Article 230, which states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service will be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by any other information content provider”.
That legal phrase protects companies that can contain trillions of messages from being forgotten by anyone who feels wronged by something someone else posted – whether their complaint is legitimate or not.
Section 230 also allows social platforms to moderate their services by removing messages that are, for example, obscene or violating the services’ own standards, as long as they act in good faith.
Where does section 230 come from?
The measure’s history dates back to the 1950s, when bookstore owners were held liable for selling books with “obscenity,” which are not protected by the first amendment. One case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which ruled that it caused a “chilling effect” to hold someone accountable for someone else’s content.
That meant plaintiffs had to prove that bookstore owners knew they were selling obscene books, said Jeff Kosseff, the author of ‘The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet,’ a book on section 230.
Fast forward a few decades to the moment when the commercial internet boomed with services such as CompuServe and Prodigy. Both offered online forums, but CompuServe chose not to moderate it, while Prodigy, looking for a family-friendly image, did.
CompuServe was sued for this and the case was dismissed. Prodigy ran into problems, however. The judge ruled in their case that “they exercised editorial control – so you’re more of a newspaper than a newsstand,” Kosseff said.
This did not go down well with politicians, who were concerned that the outcome would discourage new internet companies from moderating. And section 230 was born.
“Today it protects against both liability for user posts and liability for any clams for moderating content,” said Kosseff.
What happens if section 230 is limited or disappears?
“I don’t think any of the social media companies in their current form would exist without section 230,” said Kosseff. “They based their business models on being major platforms for user content.”
There are two possible results. Platforms could become more cautious, as Craigslist did after the adoption of a sex trafficking law in 2018, which made an exception to Article 230 for material that “ promotes or facilitates prostitution. ” Craigslist quickly removed the ‘personals’ section altogether, which was not intended to facilitate sex work. But the company didn’t want to take any chances.
This outcome could not actually harm anyone other than the President himself, who routinely attacks private figures, cites conspiracy theories, and charges others with crimes.
“If platforms were not immune under the law, they wouldn’t risk the legal liability that could arise from hosting Donald Trump’s lies, slander, and threats,” said Kate Ruane, senior legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union .
Another possibility: Facebook, Twitter and other platforms could leave moderation altogether and let the lower common denominator prevail.
Such uncontrolled services can easily be dominated by trolls, such as 8chan, who is notorious for its graphic and extremist content, said Santa Clara University law professor Eric Goldman. Undoing section 230 would be an “existential threat to the Internet,” he said.
But Goldman doesn’t see White House order as a kind of threat to the Internet, saying it’s “political theater” that will appeal to Trump supporters. “The President cannot ignore Congress,” he said.
“We are here today to defend freedom of speech against one of the greatest dangers it has faced in American history, to be honest, and you know what’s going on, just like everyone else. It’s no good, ” Trump said before taking the order, which first came just days after Twitter, what Trump’s staff call a fact check on his own tweets.
Plagued over whether he would in fact try to use the courts to shut down Twitter, Trump replied, ‘I think this: If Twitter wouldn’t be honorable, if you have such a guy, be your judge and jury, I think you stop it as far as I’m concerned ‘with reference to’ Twitter’s head of integrity, ‘which has been revealed to have posted tweets that are highly critical of Trump and the top Republicans.
Trump, a billionaire who had amassed a brand and real estate empire before becoming president, added, “A handful of powerful social media monopolies control much of all public and private communications in the United States and we know what they are, we don’t need to name you, we give you a complete overview. ‘
He continued, “They’ve had the uncontrolled power to censor, limit, edit, shape, hide, change virtually any form of communication between citizens or a large audience.”
Trump brought up the 2016 elections when he tore Twitter – a fact that attorneys could mark as companies in court try to claim that the action is politically motivated.
“We can’t allow this to happen, especially if they do what they do,” Trump said. “Because they do things wrong. They have positions. And when we do, it’s actually amazing that there was a success in 2016, but we can’t let this happen. It is very unfair. ‘
“What they do boils down to a monopoly you can say,” Trump said. It comes down to taking over the ether. I can’t let it happen. Otherwise we will not have democracy. We will have nothing to do with a republic. ‘
Trump also tried to use the power of federal wallets as pressure, saying we are ‘not going to a social media company that is oppressing'[es] freedom of opinion. ”
He said the government “spends billions of dollars on giving money” and called the companies “rich enough,” though independent accounts have made overall spending on government ads much lower.
“We’re not going to do anything or very little about it,” Trump said.
Asked if he would consider simply deleting his Twitter account given his concerns, Trump said he would “do it in the blink of an eye” if we had an “honest press” in the United States.
The language of the order that Trump specially signed distinguished Twitter for his decision to highlight two of the president’s tweets. The platform provided additional information, although the tweets were not removed.
It appeared to have been added since a draft order was widely distributed in the run-up to signature.
“Twitter is now selectively deciding to put a warning label on certain tweets in a way that clearly reflects political bias,” the order said. As reported, Twitter never seems to have posted such a label on another politician’s tweet. Last week, Representative Adam Schiff continued to mislead his followers by challenging the long-refuted Russian Collusion Hoax, and Twitter didn’t flag those tweets. Unsurprisingly, the officer in charge of so-called “site integrity” has shown his political bias in his own tweets. ‘
Schiff is the Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a favorite target of Trump.
Another section listed four tech platforms – compared to a draft order that didn’t have a name for Instagram and YouTube.
“Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube have tremendous, if not unprecedented power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete or disappear information; and to determine what people see or don’t see, “it said.
Yet another describes a new government ‘working group’ that will evaluate media organizations, among others, with indications that ‘bias’ is being used to assess content. ‘
Complaints described in section 4 (b) of this warrant will be shared with the working group, in accordance with applicable law. The working group also collects publicly available information on the following: (iv) relying on outside entities, including contractors, organizations and individuals, with indications of bias to evaluate content, ”it says.
At least one section that did not appear in a publicly available draft form posted a new authority under Barr.
A section on government spending on online advertising reads: “The Department of Justice reviews the position-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subparagraph (b) of this section and whether online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to position discrimination, consumer deception or other bad practices. ‘
A section on the FCC considers a newly added hedge. “The FTC plans to issue a report” on whether complaints of breach of law imply its provisions. A draft stated that the agency would prepare the report – effectively stopping it from actually producing it.
In één sectie onderzoekt de werkgroep van de AG een gebied met een financiële invalshoek, of het beleid van de platforms zo werkt dat het de mogelijkheid van gebruikers met bepaalde standpunten om geld te verdienen op het platform beperkt in vergelijking met andere gebruikers die zich op dezelfde manier bevinden. ‘
Het cruciale juridische gedeelte is het bevel van Trump aan de Federal Communications Commission (FCC) om te verduidelijken hoe de regelgeving moet worden gehandhaafd op grond van artikel 230 van de Communications Decency Act.
Dat is de federale wet die online platforms grotendeels vrijstelt van wettelijke aansprakelijkheid voor berichten van gebruikers.
Maar het bevel zegt dat de bescherming niet van toepassing moet zijn als bedrijven ‘bezig zijn met redactionele gedragingen’ – wat betekent dat ze zelf een oordeel moeten vellen over hoe de standpunten van mensen worden gepresenteerd.
Dat is waar Trump Twitter van beschuldigt door hem te controleren op feiten, en wat conservatieven beweren dat er gebeurt met hun berichten die minder worden gepromoot dan die met meer liberale standpunten.
Een dergelijke stap zou Twitter, Facebook en andere platforms kunnen openen voor een lawine van rechtszaken van mensen die beweren dat hun mening onterecht is gecensureerd.
Het vereist ook dat het bureau kijkt of sociale-mediaplatforms ‘misleidend’ beleid gebruiken om inhoud te modereren door niet openlijk te verklaren hoe zij beslissen hoe met standpunten wordt omgegaan.
Trump heeft ook een mechanisme opgezet waarmee Amerikanen vermeende politieke censuur of vooringenomenheid door reuzen op sociale media kunnen melden, die door de Federal Trade Commission zullen worden onderzocht.
Het rapportagetool voor tech bias van het Witte Huis verzamelt klachten over online censuur en dient deze in bij het ministerie van Justitie en de Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Donald Trump waarschuwde woensdagochtend dat zijn regering sociale-mediasites gaat reguleren en sluiten, en beweert dat techreuzen proberen ‘conservatieve stemmen volledig tot zwijgen te brengen’
De order werd ook afgewezen door groepen voor burgerlijke vrijheden – en door de Kamer van Koophandel, die normaal gesproken een betrouwbare voorstander is van het republikeinse beleid.
Anti-conservatieve vooringenomen claims op sociale media
Intern rapport van Facebook gaf vooringenomenheid toe
Facebook opende zich vorig jaar voor een onafhankelijk onderzoek naar anti-conservatieve vooroordelen na herhaalde kritiek van Trump.
Uit de audit, uitgevoerd door de voormalige Republikeinse senator Jon Kyl en anderen, bleek dat de technologiegigant nog ver verwijderd was van zijn vooringenomenheid.
Het concludeerde dat de inspanningen van Facebook om nepnieuws tegen te gaan de conservatieve stemmen het zwijgen hadden opgelegd. Een voorbeeld was dat factcheckingsites die door de socialemediagigant werden gebruikt, van nature links waren.
Bovendien ontdekte het dat het advertentiebeleid van Facebook de belangenbehartiging tegen abortus had kunnen beperken.
Kyl’s report said: ‘Facebook has recognized the importance of our assessment and has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives.’
Don Jr. claimed to be hit by ‘Shadow banning’
A series of high-profile pro-Trump figures have claimed that Twitter and Instagram have made it harder to find their accounts or individual posts.
Among those making the claim have been Donald Trump Jr., and Mark Meadows, at the time a congressman and now Trump’s White House chief of staff, and Jim Jordan, a prominent Trump defender.
Trump Jr. made the claim in his book, Triggered.
Twitter has denied that it was involved in such a practice but did update its algorithm when the controversy erupted in July 2016. Instagram – which is owned by Facebook – has said it does not alter the prominence of posts for political reasons.
James Woods is banned from Twitter
The conservative actor and prominent tweeter was locked out of his account in May 2019 for tweeting: ”If you try to kill the King, you best not miss’#HangThemAll.’
Candace Owens suspended by Twitter after criticizing lockdown
Conservative commentator Candace Owens tweeted earlier this month: ‘Apparently @GovWhitmer believes she is a duly elected dictator of a socialist country. The people of Michigan need to stand up to her. Open your businesses. Go to work. The police think she’s crazy too. They are not going to arrest 10,000,000 people for going to work.’
A Twitter spokesman confirmed that Owens’ tweet violated its Covid-19 fake news policy. Twitter said the tweet would be deleted and Owens would serve a ‘timeout’ before being allowed to log back on.
Google accused of censorship of views on abortion, gun rights, Islam and terrorism on its YouTube platform
In February, Google persuaded a federal appeals court on Wednesday to reject claims that YouTube illegally censored Prager University, a conservative nonprofit run by radio talk show host Dennis Prager.
PragerU claimed that YouTube’s opposition to its political views led it to tag dozens of videos on such topics as abortion, gun rights, Islam and terrorism for its ‘Restricted Mode’ setting, and block third parties from advertising on the videos.
Writing for the appeals court, however, Circuit Judge Margaret McKeown said YouTube was a private forum despite its ‘ubiquity’ and public accessibility, and hosting videos did not make it a ‘state actor’ for purposes of the First Amendment.
Clinton scourge Tulsi Gabbard sues Google over violating free speech
Last year she announced she was suing Google for $50million after it suspended her advertising account in the hours after a Democratic debate because it was trying to silence her.
Although she’s a Democrat, Gabbard’s nationalist ideals have put her at odds with the Democratic party.
Hillary Clinton suggested the Iraq War veteran was a Russian asset.
Tulsi Now Inc. said in the lawsuit filed in July 2019 that Google violated her right to free speech and didn’t provide ‘a straight answer’ for suspending her ads account.
Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify ban Infowars’ Alex Jones
In 2018, Facebook, Apple, YouTube and Spotify banned pages and content from Infowars and the show’s host Alex Jones.
A Facebook spokesman referred to content which it said glorified violence and the use of dehumanizing language to describe Muslims and migrants. These violated their graphic violence and hate speech policies.
The spokesman noted conspiracy theories espoused by Jones on events like the 9/11 attacks and Sandy Hook school shooting, were not the reason for his ban.
YouTube followed suit a few hours later, as did Spotify, after Apple removed Jones from its podcast directory.
Laura Loomer banned from Twitter after she claimed Ilhan Omar was ‘anti Jewish’ and supported Shariah law
It comes as a federal appeals court this week upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit that accused Twitter, Facebook and other tech giants of conspiring to stifle the political views of far-right activist, Laura Loomer, and a conservative nonprofit, Freedom Watch.
In November 2018, Loomer handcuffed herself to the front doors of Twitter headquarters in New York after the company banned her. The company permanently suspended Loomer’s account, which had more than 260,000 followers, after she tweeted that Minnesota Democrat Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, is ‘anti Jewish’ and supports Sharia law.
Facebook also banned Loomer, who is running for a Florida congressional seat as a Republican.
In March 2019, U.S District Judge Trevor McFadden said their suit raises ‘non-trivial concerns’ but didn’t tie these concerns to viable legal claims.
‘We believe that free speech and the right to engage in commerce are foundational to the American free enterprise system,’ a Chamber official said in a statement, the New York Times reported.
‘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.’
‘This executive order, likely unconstitutional, is also intended to distract the public’s attention away from the fact that there are now over 100,000 Covid-related deaths across the country and an economy that is sinking to Great Depression levels,’ said Kristen Clarke, the president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law in a statement.
The American Civil Liberties Union called Trump’s order “a blatant and unconstitutional threat to punish social media companies that displease the President.”
Eric Goldman, director of the High-Tech Law Institute at Santa Clara University, said the order was ‘more about political theater than about changing the law.’
The order ‘is not legally supportable – it flies in the face of more than 900 court decisions,’ Goldman said.
Despite Trump’s approving tweet about Zuckerberg, Facebook issued a statement saying limiting the section of communications law would have the opposite effect of protecting free speech.
‘Facebook is a platform for diverse views. We believe in protecting freedom of expression on our services, while protecting our community from harmful content including content designed to stop voters from exercising their right to vote,’ it said, NBC news reported on Twitter.
‘Those rules apply to everybody. Repealing or limiting section 230 will have the opposite effect. It will restrict more speech online, not less.
‘By exposing companies to potential liability for everything that billions of people around the world say, this would penalize companies that choose to allow controversial speech and encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone.’
The order says it received 16,000 responses of alleged bias and suggests that they will form part of the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation.
The order also requires the attorney general to establish a working group including state attorneys general that will examine the enforcement of state laws that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair and deceptive acts.
And it says the AG’s group should look into who carries out factchecks for social media platforms and whether they have ‘indicia of bias.’
And federal agencies are to be told to review their advertising on social media platforms, which was worth $1.5 billion in the last decade. Trump described it as ‘billions and billions of dollars.’
Section 230 of the 1996 law is a shield against social media networks being sued for what people post on their platforms.
It says: ‘No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.’
It also says that: ‘No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be held liable on account of any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.’
A publisher or speaker can normally be sued for defamation for the contents of their speech but by not being categorized as those, any attempt to sue social media giants for what is written on them falls at the first hurdle.
The 1996 statute has allowed Silicon Valley to make billions of dollars from their users’ posts, photos and videos, with minimal legal liability, while giving them freedom to remove anything they see as ‘objectionable.’
When it was written social media did not exist.
Since its explosive growth, platforms including Twitter and Facebook have changed repeatedly.
Their algorithms decide the order in which users see new posts, and can be used to make particular content more or less visible.
That has led critics to say that they are behaving as publishers – deciding what people read or see – and not simply as forums.
]The rest of the act gives forums powers to set standards for content, which social media platforms have used as a basis for moderating content and to justify the existence of algorithms.
Conservatives – and many others outside mainstream thought on matters like history, climate change and even the coronavirus – have criticized the use of Section 230 claiming big tech has censored content without being subject to scrutiny.
Republican senators Marco Rubio (FL) and Josh Hawley (MO) were among those who slammed Twitter for putting its fact-checking flag on the president’s tweets.
Rubio said: ‘The law still protects social media companies like @Twitter because they are considered forums not publishers.
‘But if they have now decided to exercise an editorial role like a publisher then they should no longer be shielded from liability & treated as publishers under the law.’
Hawley, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said it ‘raises serious questions about whether Twitter targeted the President for political reasons.’
There is however zero possibility of a Democratic House passing reforms to the law itself.
That leaves Trump trying to use the powers of the executive branch.
The order also puts a prohibition on federal tax dollars going to online platforms that ‘violate free speech principles.’
But a report last February showed the feds spent just $8 million on social media ads in 2018.
The idea of broadening the platforms’ legal exposure carried more weight.
Under the order, the Commerce Secretary would file a petition for new FCC rule-making. It would make platforms liable when actions are ‘deceptive, pretextrual, or inconsistent with a provider’s terms of service,’ or when taken with ‘inadequate notice’ or by an ‘unreasoned explanation.’
Trump himself has made ample use of lawsuits and legal threats over his career. USA found in 2016 Trump and his companies had been involved in 3,500 lawsuits over three decades.
Trump’s moves brought immediate pushback.
‘This is simply setting the wheels of law enforcement and regulation in motion against a private company for questioning the president,’ said Matt Schruers, president of the Computer and Communications Industry Association, according to the Washington Post.
Added former FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, ‘Social media can be frustrating. But an executive order that would turn the Federal Communications Commission into the president’s speech police is not the answer.’
Jesse Blumenthal, head of the Koch-backed Stand Together group, said it was ‘just nonsense’ to try to rewrite a clear statute through an executive order.
The rule’s first section contains language that is more political than technical, following reports the administration rushed to put it out.
It calls free speech ‘the bedrock of American democracy’ and says having a limited number of platforms ‘hand-pick’ speech is ‘fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic.’
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted: ‘Here’s the inevitable effect … all comments sections will be taken down. No website has the resources to actively edit all comments in order to shield themselves from liability, and no website is willing to leave comments entirely standards-free.’
Pachter said that fact-checking ‘is a stupid idea on Twitter’s part’ and that instead they should just delete tweets which are reported, warn the offender or suspend them for breaking its rules.
Trump had claimed Wednesday in a Twitter thread that conservatives are being silenced and disproportionately regulated on social media websites like Twitter and Facebook as Twitter issued ‘misleading’ warning labels on two of his tweets about mail-in voting on Tuesday.
‘Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen,’ the president posted to his Twitter Wednesday morning. ‘We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that happen again.’
The warning was issued after Trump reacted with fury to having two of his tweets labelled as misleading, with links to news articles suggesting they were false attached.
Responding to the ‘fact checking’ Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale said: ‘We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters.
‘Partnering with the biased fake news media ‘fact checkers’ is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility. There are many reasons the Trump campaign pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and their clear political bias is one of them.’
In contrast, Twitter’s Jack Dorsey refused to take down the president’s tweets where he touted a debunked conspiracy theory that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough was involved in the death of a staffer when he was a Republican U.S. congressman from Florida.
Twitter users, including some Republicans, did not react kindly to the president suggesting increased regulations on social media websites.
The president has often attacked social media giants and the people who run them – even as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has refused to give into pressures to take some of Trump’s tweets down. Pictured: Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Twitter posted a blue exclamation point under two of Trump’s tweets about fraud potential in mail-in votes, prompting users to “ figure out the facts about mail-in ballots ”
Users who clicked on the blue exclamation marks are then redirected to a page explaining why the claim was unsubstantiated, including an assertion that Trump’s claim are ‘false’ and that there is ‘no evidence’ that vote-by-mail was linked to voter fraud
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg goes after Twitter for its fact-checking of Trump
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg criticized competitor Twitter on Thursday after it ‘fact-checked’ tweets from Donald Trump.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey immediately fired back saying that the site would continue to call out ‘incorrect or disputed information’ about elections shared by users.
In his interview with Fox, Facebook’s Zuckerberg said that it was not the place of the company to act as an ‘arbiter of truth’.
‘We have a different policy than, I think, Twitter on this,’ he said.
‘I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,’ he added.
‘Private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.’
Dorsey tweeted: ‘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,’ he wrote.
‘Per our Civic Integrity policy, the tweets yesterday may mislead people into thinking they don’t need to register to get a ballot (only registered voters receive ballots),’ he added. ‘We’re updating the link on @RealDonaldTrump’s tweet to make this more clear.’
Michael Pachter, research analyst at investment firm Wedbush Securities, told Fox Business: ‘Twitter came up with a rule that applies to one person …
‘They’re not treating (Trump) the way they treat everybody else. They came up with a separate set of rules just for him, which is fact-checking, because they’re too afraid of his bullying to delete the tweet or suspend him.’
Prominent conservative Margot Cleveland, whose work has been featured in several right leaning news publications, weighed in claiming any private organization has the right to decide what speech can and cannot be featured on their platform.
‘Pro Tip: Saying Twitter is violating your constitutional right to free speech or your First Amendment rights is wacko b/c Twitter ain’t the government,’ Cleveland wrote Wednesday morning. ‘Saying Twitter is ‘stifling free speech’ isn’t. Powerful private organizations can & do stifle speech.’
Trump critic and Republican George Conway, who is married to White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway, reposted a message from the State Department spokeswoman that contradicted the president’s tweet.
‘The State Department’s spokesperson, a couple of hours after the President of the United States suggested that the government may ‘strongly regulate’ social media platforms or ‘close them down,” Conway wrote as a lead up.
Morgan Ortagus tweeted from the official State Department spokesperson account: ‘Governments that restrict internet access deprive their citizens of the information they need to stay safe. #FreedomOfExpression both online and offline is vital, especially during COVID-19. @StateDept is proud to be an active member of the @FO_Coalition.’
Kellyanne Conway criticized Twitter for flagging the tweets, lashing out at Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site Integrity, during an interview with Fox & Friends Wednesday.
She even cited his Twitter handle on live television to make sure Republicans knew where to direct their complaints.
‘This guy is constantly attacking Trump voters, Trump, Mitch McConnell, you name it. He’s the head of integrity at Twitter,’ Conway lamented.
‘It’s horrible the way he looks at people who should otherwise have a free and clear platform on Twitter.’
Trump also re-asserted his flagged tweets’ theme in his Wednesday morning tweet: ‘Just like we can’t let large scale Mail-In Ballots take root in our Country.’
Trump views that mail-in ballots will increase the chances of voter fraud – and benefit Democrats in 2020.
‘It would be a free for all on cheating, forgery and the theft of Ballots,’ Trump insisted. ‘Whoever cheated the most would win. Likewise, Social Media. Clean up your act, NOW!!!!’
On Tuesday, the president tweeted that California’s mail-in balloting initiative would lead to substantial voter fraud in the November general election.
Trump accused on Tuesday night that Twitter is interfering in the 2020 presidential election by fact-checking his tweets and flagging it with disclaimers
He also accused the tech giant of ‘stifling free speech’ in a fiery rant on Tuesday
Biased head of Twitter’s ‘Site Integrity’ has previously called the President ‘a racist tangerine’
Yoel Roth, whose official title at Twitter is head of Site Integrity, faced backlash on Wednesday after his history of anti-Trump tweets emerged less than 24 hours after the social media giant put a fact-checking warning on two of the president’s tweets.
Yoel Roth, whose official title at Twitter is head of Site Integrity
In a January 2017 tweet, Roth referred to the Trump administration as ‘actual Nazis in the White House’ and tweeted in November 2016 that fly over states were racist.
He also compared Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway to Nazi Joseph Goebbels saying: ”Today on Meet The Press, we’re speaking with Joseph Goebbels about the first 100 days…’ – What I hear whenever Kellyanne is on a news show.’
The majority of Roth’s tweets criticizing Trump and his administration were posted around 2017.
Roth started working at Twitter in 2015 as a product trust partner, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He has been in his current role as head of site integrity for almost two years.
Conway, who is a counselor to Trump, lashed out at Roth in an interview with Fox & Friends on Wednesday and went as far as giving out his Twitter handle on live television.
‘This guy is constantly attacking Trump voters, Trump, Mitch McConnell, you name it. He’s the head of integrity at Twitter,’ Conway said.
‘It’s horrible the way he looks at people who should otherwise have a free and clear platform on Twitter.’
“There is NO WAY (ZERO!) That Mail-In ballot papers will be anything but substantially fraudulent. Mailboxes are robbed, ballots are falsified and even illegally printed and fraudulently signed, ‘Trump wrote Tuesday morning.
He then insinuated that non-citizens could receive ballot papers.
“The California governor sends ballots to millions of people, anyone who lives in the state, regardless of who they are or how they got there, will get one,” he continued in the Twitter rant. “That will be followed by professionals who tell all these people, many of whom have never thought to vote, how and for whom to vote.”
Trump ended the two tweet rant by saying, “This is going to be a mounted election.”
‘Not really!’ Trump said, voting in Florida absence.
The president used an email-in vote to vote in the Florida primaries last month – a move his government has defended because he can’t show up for personal voting while living in Washington, D.C.
On Tuesday afternoon, Twitter marked the tweets with a blue exclamation mark that prompted users to “ find out the facts about mail-in ballots. ”
Another page on the social media site called Trump’s tweets ‘unsubstantiated,’ according to fact-checkers from CNN, Washington Post and other news outlets.
‘These tweets contain potentially misleading information about voting processes and have been labeled to provide additional context around mail-in ballots,’ a statement from Twitter read.
Following the move from Twitter, Trump used the social media site he is attacking to decry its decision to label his tweets ‘misleading’ and accused them of ‘stifling free speech.’
He threatened the tech giant, stating he wouldn’t allow it to continue.
‘@Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election. They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post,’ Trump wrote Tuesday night.
‘Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!’ he asserted.
Trump’s 2020 campaign was quick to slam the move.
‘We always knew that Silicon Valley would pull out all the stops to obstruct and interfere with President Trump getting his message through to voters. Partnering with the biased fake news media ‘fact checkers’ is only a smoke screen Twitter is using to try to lend their obvious political tactics some false credibility. There are many reasons the Trump campaign pulled all our advertising from Twitter months ago, and their clear political bias is one of them,’ campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement.
For weeks, Trump has said that states that do not want to expose the voting public to COVID-19 should not implement large-scale mail-in-ballot plans.
The President has distinguished between absentee ballots, which he says can be used for special purposes, and governors who send each American voter a ballot to return.
“I have to be absent because I’m voting in Florida and I’m president and I live in that beautiful house painted white,” he said in the Rose Garden on Tuesday.
Trump’s tweets came after the Republican National Committee and two other GOP groups filed a lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday, who signed an executive order to use the November ballot papers.
“In California, I hear the governor sends millions of ballots all over the state. Millions, for everyone. People who are not citizens, illegal immigrants, anyone who walks in California will vote, ‘Trump said at the White House on Tuesday.
“We’re not going to destroy this province by making things like that happen. We are not destroying our country, ”he added.
Republicans have long been suspicious that voting would make more Democrats easier. For example, young people tend to be more democratic, but also vote less personally.
California was the first state in the country to commit to sending ballot papers to all registered voters for the November elections, an action that responded to the corona virus pandemic.
‘Democrats continue to use this pandemic as a ploy to implement their partisan election agenda, and Governor Newsom’s executive order is the latest direct assault on the integrity of our elections,’ Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said in a statement.
‘No state that conducts all-mail elections automatically mails ballots to inactive voters because it invites fraud, coercion, theft, and otherwise illegitimate voting,’ it added.
The lawsuit asks for Newsom’s order to be barred as unlawful and was filed by the RNC, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the California Republican Party.
Numerous studies have found little evidence of voter fraud connected to voting by mail. Democrats say it is necessary to counter health risks from the coronavirus by helping to prevent crowds at polling places.
President Trump continued to tweet about Lori Klausutis’ death on Tuesday, again suggesting that Joe Scarborough may have been behind her death
READ DONALD TRUMP’S FULL EXECUTIVE ORDER ON ‘BIAS’ ON SOCIAL MEDIA
PREVENTING ONLINE CENSORSHIP
By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1. Policy.
Free speech is the bedrock of American democracy. Our Founding Fathers protected this sacred right with the First Amendment to the Constitution. The freedom to express and debate ideas is the foundation for all of our rights as a free people.
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. 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. They cease functioning as passive bulletin boards, and ought to be viewed and treated as content creators.
The growth of online platforms in recent years raises important questions about applying the ideals of the First Amendment to modern communications technology. Today, many Americans follow the news, stay in touch with friends and family, and share their views on current events through social media and other online platforms. As a result, these platforms function in many ways as a 21st century equivalent of the public square.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube wield immense, if not unprecedented, power to shape the interpretation of public events; to censor, delete, or disappear information; and to control what people see or do not see.
As President, I have made clear my commitment to free and open debate on the internet. Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our town halls, and our homes. It is essential to sustaining our democracy.
Online platforms are engaging in selective censorship that is harming our national discourse. Tens of thousands of Americans have reported, among other troubling behaviors, online platforms ‘flagging’ content as inappropriate, even though it does not violate any stated terms of service; making unannounced and unexplained changes to company policies that have the effect of disfavoring certain viewpoints; and deleting content and entire accounts with no warning, no rationale, and no recourse.
Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias. 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. Unsurprisingly, its officer in charge of so-called ‘Site Integrity’ has flaunted his political bias in his own tweets.
At the same time online platforms are invoking inconsistent, irrational, and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans’ speech here at home, several online platforms are profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments like China. One United States company, for example, created a search engine for the Chinese Communist Party that would have blacklisted searches for ‘human rights,’ hid data unfavorable to the Chinese Communist Party, and tracked users determined appropriate for surveillance. It also established research partnerships in China that provide direct benefits to the Chinese military. Other companies have accepted advertisements paid for by the Chinese government that spread false information about China’s mass imprisonment of religious minorities, thereby enabling these abuses of human rights. They have also amplified China’s propaganda abroad, including by allowing Chinese government officials to use their platforms to spread misinformation regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, and to undermine pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
As a Nation, we must foster and protect diverse viewpoints in today’s digital communications environment where all Americans can and should have a voice. We must seek transparency and accountability from online platforms, and encourage standards and tools to protect and preserve the integrity and openness of American discourse and freedom of expression.
Sec. 2. Protections Against Online Censorship.
It is the policy of the United States to foster clear ground rules promoting free and open debate on the internet. Prominent among the ground rules governing that debate is the immunity from liability created by section 230(c) of the Communications Decency Act (section 230(c)). 47 U.S.C. 230(c). It is the policy of the United States that the scope of that immunity should be clarified: the immunity should not extend beyond its text and purpose to provide protection for those who purport to provide users a forum for free and open speech, but in reality use their power over a vital means of communication to engage in deceptive or pretextual actions stifling free and open debate by censoring certain viewpoints.
Section 230(c) was designed to address early court decisions holding that, if an online platform restricted access to some content posted by others, it would thereby become a ‘publisher’ of all the content posted on its site for purposes of torts such as defamation. As the title of section 230(c) makes clear, the provision provides limited liability ‘protection’ to a provider of an interactive computer service (such as an online platform) that engages in ”Good Samaritan’ blocking’ of harmful content. In particular, the Congress sought to provide protections for online platforms that attempted to protect minors from harmful content and intended to ensure that such providers would not be discouraged from taking down harmful material. The provision was also intended to further the express vision of the Congress that the internet is a ‘forum for a true diversity of political discourse.’ 47 U.S.C. 230(a)(3). The limited protections provided by the statute should be construed with these purposes in mind.
In particular, subparagraph (c)(2) expressly addresses protections from ‘civil liability’ and specifies that an interactive computer service provider may not be made liable ‘on account of’ its decision in ‘good faith’ to restrict access to content that it considers to be ‘obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable.’ It is the policy of the United States to ensure that, to the maximum extent permissible under the law, this provision is not distorted to provide liability protection for online platforms that — far from acting in ‘good faith’ to remove objectionable content — instead engage in deceptive or pretextual actions (often contrary to their stated terms of service) to stifle viewpoints with which they disagree. 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. When an interactive computer service provider removes or restricts access to content and its actions do not meet the criteria of subparagraph (c)(2)(A), it is engaged in editorial conduct. It is the policy of the United States that such a provider should properly lose the limited liability shield of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) and be exposed to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.
To advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section, all executive departments and agencies should ensure that their application of section 230(c) properly reflects the narrow purpose of the section and take all appropriate actions in this regard. In addition, within 60 days of the date of this order, the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), in consultation with the Attorney General, and acting through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), shall file a petition for rulemaking with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting that the FCC expeditiously propose regulations to clarify:
- (i) the interaction between subparagraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of section 230, in particular to clarify and determine the circumstances under which a provider of an interactive computer service that restricts access to content in a manner not specifically protected by subparagraph (c)(2)(A) may also not be able to claim protection under subparagraph (c)(1), which merely states that a provider shall not be treated as a publisher or speaker for making third-party content available and does not address the provider’s responsibility for its own editorial decisions;
- (ii) the conditions under which an action restricting access to or availability of material is not ‘taken in good faith’ within the meaning of subparagraph (c)(2)(A) of section 230, particularly whether actions can be ‘taken in good faith’ if they are:
(A) deceptive, pretextual, or inconsistent with a provider’s terms of service; or
(B) taken after failing to provide adequate notice, reasoned explanation, or a meaningful opportunity to be heard; and
- (iii) any other proposed regulations that the NTIA concludes may be appropriate to advance the policy described in subsection (a) of this section.
Sec. 3. Protecting Federal Taxpayer Dollars from Financing Online Platforms That Restrict Free Speech.
(a) The head of each executive department and agency (agency) shall review its agency’s Federal spending on advertising and marketing paid to online platforms. Such review shall include the amount of money spent, the online platforms that receive Federal dollars, and the statutory authorities available to restrict their receipt of advertising dollars.
(b) Within 30 days of the date of this order, the head of each agency shall report its findings to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
(c) The Department of Justice shall review the viewpoint-based speech restrictions imposed by each online platform identified in the report described in subsection (b) of this section and assess whether any online platforms are problematic vehicles for government speech due to viewpoint discrimination, deception to consumers, or other bad practices.
Sec. 4. Federal Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices.
(a) It is the policy of the United States that large online platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, as the critical means of promoting the free flow of speech and ideas today, should not restrict protected speech. The Supreme Court has noted that social media sites, as the modern public square, ‘can provide perhaps the most powerful mechanisms available to a private citizen to make his or her voice heard.’ Packingham v. North Carolina, 137 S. Ct. 1730, 1737 (2017). Communication through these channels has become important for meaningful participation in American democracy, including to petition elected leaders. These sites are providing an important forum to the public for others to engage in free expression and debate. Cf. PruneYard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 85-89 (1980).
(b) In May of 2019, the White House launched a Tech Bias Reporting tool to allow Americans to report incidents of online censorship. In just weeks, the White House received over 16,000 complaints of online platforms censoring or otherwise taking action against users based on their political viewpoints. The White House will submit such complaints received to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
(c) The FTC shall consider taking action, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, to prohibit unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce, pursuant to section 45 of title 15, United States Code. Such unfair or deceptive acts or practice may include practices by entities covered by section 230 that restrict speech in ways that do not align with those entities’ public representations about those practices.
(d) For large online platforms that are vast arenas for public debate, including the social media platform Twitter, the FTC shall also, consistent with its legal authority, consider whether complaints allege violations of law that implicate the policies set forth in section 4(a) of this order. The FTC shall consider developing a report describing such complaints and making the report publicly available, consistent with applicable law.
Sec. 5. State Review of Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices and Anti-Discrimination Laws.
(a) The Attorney General shall establish a working group regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices. The working group shall also develop model legislation for consideration by legislatures in States where existing statutes do not protect Americans from such unfair and deceptive acts and practices. The working group shall invite State Attorneys General for discussion and consultation, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law.
(b) Complaints described in section 4(b) of this order will be shared with the working group, consistent with applicable law. The working group shall also collect publicly available information regarding the following:
- (i) increased scrutiny of users based on the other users they choose to follow, or their interactions with other users;
- (ii) algorithms to suppress content or users based on indications of political alignment or viewpoint;
- (iii) differential policies allowing for otherwise impermissible behavior, when committed by accounts associated with the Chinese Communist Party or other anti-democratic associations or governments;
- (iv) reliance on third-party entities, including contractors, media
organizations, and individuals, with indicia of bias to review content; and
- (v) acts that limit the ability of users with particular viewpoints to earn money on the platform compared with other users similarly situated.
Sec. 6. Legislation.
The Attorney General shall develop a proposal for Federal legislation that would be useful to promote the policy objectives of this order.
Sec. 7. Definition.
For purposes of this order, the term ‘online platform’ means any website or application that allows users to create and share content or engage in social networking, or any general search engine.
Sec. 8. General Provisions.
(a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:
- (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or
- (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.
(b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations.
(c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.
DONALD J. TRUMP
THE WHITE HOUSE,
May 28, 2020.