July 12, 2020

Executive Order: “Trump Escalates War on Twitter, Social Media Protections”

Note: We will update this post with additional coverage, statements, and resources as they become available.
Last Updated: May 28, 2020, 7:15pm Eastern

Full Text of Executive Order (via White House)

From the AP:

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

Still, 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.

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.

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Additional Coverage

From Politico:

Trump announced the action Thursday, signing an executive order that he said would “defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers” — tech platforms that have amassed “unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences.”

“We can’t allow that to happen,” Trump said in the Oval Office, where he was accompanied by Attorney General William Barr.

[Clip]

An early draft of the text drew swift condemnation from both internet industry advocates and civil liberties groups, including some who regularly criticize Silicon Valley, after the language began circulating on social media and news reports. Some called it dangerous; some dismissed it as bluster.

“This reads like a stream of consciousness tweetstorm that some poor staffer had to turn into the form of an Executive Order,” said Daphne Keller, a former Google attorney who now leads the Program on Platform Regulation at Stanford’s Cyber Policy Center.

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From The Verge

In statements made Thursday, Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Brendan Carr took opposing sides over an executive order targeting Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Democrat Rosenworcel said that the order “is not the answer” while Republican Carr suggested that the proposal “makes sense.” If the current draft order is signed, the FCC would be at the helm of adjudicating complaints of social media bias online.

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More Media Reports

Trump’s Social Media Order Will Have the Opposite Effect He Wants, Tech Experts Warn (via CNBC)

Full Text of Section 230
via Legal Information Institute
via GPO (PDF)

Full Text of Statements

CRS Reports

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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