President Donald Trump is poised to sign an executive order on social-media companies Thursday, escalating his war on Twitter Inc., although it remains unclear what it will entail.
According to the Journal, the order would limit legal protections afforded to social-media companies, making it easier for federal regulators to hold companies liable for curbing users’ free speech. The aggressive order would be broad-reaching and revoke protections tech companies have under the 1996 Communications Decency Act that gives them wide latitude in moderating content and could lead to federal agencies withdrawing advertising contracts with companies found in violation, the Journal reported.
President Donald Trump threatened to “regulate” or even “close” down social media platforms in a series of tweets over the last day after Twitter added a fact-check label to some of his posts. But Trump’s options for cracking down on Twitter and other platforms over how they moderate their platforms are somewhat limited, legal experts say.
The executive order would require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to propose and clarify regulations under section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a federal law largely exempting online platforms from legal liability for the material their users’ post. Such changes could expose tech companies to more lawsuits.
The order asks the FCC to examine whether actions related to the editing of content by social media companies should potentially lead to the platform forfeiting its protections under section 230.
It requires the agency to look at whether a social media platform uses deceptive policies to moderate content and if its policies are inconsistent with its terms of service.
The draft order also states that the White House Office of Digital Strategy will re-establish a tool to help citizens report cases of online censorship.
What could Trump’s move mean for the Social Media Tech Giants?
We have recently seen tech giants like Facebook, Google embroiled in a host of legal battles to which some have not been worn or even concluded, and with this executive order, a new wave of suits could follow.
The Executive order if signed could give users the power to file lawsuits against the Tech companies under “Censorship of Speech” by the Tech companies.
Already the Social Media companies have been using their power to be able to curtail discriminatory acts like Homophobia, Racism and have also used this as a way to discourage self-harm, online bullying among many others that have created a negative impact on social media for some of the users.
Signing such an order could mean a new wave for users who will choose to abandon the platforms as they look for personal security which would then lead to loss of users by the social media companies and in the end lead to a massive drop in income by the said platforms.
With that being said, we wait to see what new directives and plans President Trump has for Social Media companies and if the various companies will join forces to fight the proposed executive order.
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.