Yesterday newslibre reported that President Donald Trump was to sign a Social Media executive order that is aimed at ensuring that the companies can be sued for censoring of speech.
Today, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at removing some of the legal protections given to social media platforms.
The President says that the Social Media companies have a lot of “unchecked power” which allows them to censor and regulate the views of the users of the platforms.
Critics are however arguing that the Executive is particularly aimed at Twitter a platform that the President has previously had issues with and has always been very vocal about how they have so much power.
On Tuesday, Twitter applied a “Fact-check” label on the tweets of the President, a move which many believe set in motion unprecedented course of actions that saw president sign the Executive order.
On Wednesday Mr. Trump accused the company of election interference after it added a warning label to the tweets about claims of widespread fraud in mail-in voting – also known as postal votes.
It is believed that the Executive which has been signed by the president will face a lot of legal challenges from the major players like Twitter, Facebook, Google among others. Twitter and other social media platforms strongly condemned the executive order.
What is in the Executive Order against Social Media Companies?
It has to be noted that under the 1996 law, website operators (where the likes of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google fall), unlike traditional publishers, cannot generally be held responsible for content posted by users.
The sites are also protected from lawsuits if they block posts deemed obscene, violent “or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected”.
The President through the Executive order argues that this immunity should no longer apply if a social network edits posts, such as by adding a warning or a label.
It also says “deceptive” blocking, including removing a post for reasons other than those described in a website’s terms of service, should not be protected.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio is among those arguing that the platforms take on the role of a “publisher” when they add fact-check labels to posts.
“The law still protects social media companies like Twitter because they are considered forums, not publishers,” Mr. Rubio said. “But if they have now decided to exercise an editorial role like a publisher, then they should no longer be shielded from liability.”
The executive order also calls for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to spell out what type of content blocking will be considered deceptive or inconsistent with a service provider’s terms and conditions.
What have the Social Media Companies said about the Order?
Twitter who many believe is the reason for the order called it”a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law,” adding that Section 230 “protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values”.
YouTube owners Google said changing Section 230 would “hurt America’s economy and its global leadership on internet freedom.”
“Our platforms have empowered a wide range of people and organizations from across the political spectrum, giving them a voice and new ways to reach their audiences,” said the firm.
In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said censoring a social media platform would not be the “right reflex” for a government concerned about censorship.
“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” said Mr. Zuckerberg.
Author: Moses Echodu
Moses is an avid Sports and Tech enthusiast. He loves to keep up to date with all the latest information and research on some of the most compelling stories.