Daily Management Review

Trump Wants To Scrap Or Weaken Law That Protects Social Media Platforms


United States President Donald Trump has often been criticised on social media platforms including Twitter and Facebook, and now Trump is set to introduce new legislation that could result in a law that has protected internet companies, getting scrapped or made weaker. Critics see this as an attempt by Trump to regulate and control social media platforms.
This new and proposed legislation is a part of an executive order that was signed by Trump on Thursday. Twitter has been criticized by Trump recently after the social media platform tagged his tweets in a post related to raise user awareness about unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting in which the social media platform warned readers to fact-check the posts.
A provision of a law known as Section 230, that gives protection to social media platforms from any liability of content posted by their users, is desired to be removed or scrapped by Trump.
Work on drafting of the legislation will be started “immediately” by US Attorney General William Barr that will regulate social media companies, Trump said.
Reports on the intentions of Trump had emerged in the media on a day or two before Trump signed the executive order.
Analysts however said that the new regulation was unlikely to survive legal scrutiny.
“What I think we can say is we’re going to regulate it,” Trump said before the signing of the order. “I’ve been called by Democrats that want to do this, so I think you could possibly have a bipartisan situation,” said Republican Trump, who is running for re-election in November.
Twitter called the order “a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law” and said attempts to weaken Section 230 would “threaten the future of online speech.”
The order would harm “America’s economy,” said a Google spokeswoman, while a Facebook spokesman said it would “encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone.”
Critics claimed that the executive order in the current form is an attempt to bypass the Congress and the courts in bringing in changes to long-established interpretations of Section 230. Critics also see this new executive order as Trump’s latest effort to use presidential powers to force private companies to change policies that trump believes is not in his favour.
“In terms of presidential efforts to limit critical commentary about themselves, I think one would have to go back to the Sedition Act of 1798 – which made it illegal to say false things about the president and certain other public officials -to find an attack supposedly rooted in law by a president on any entity which comments or prints comments about public issues and public people,” said First Amendment lawyer Floyd Abrams.
“The president is trying to frighten, coerce, scare, cajole social media companies to leave him alone and not do what Twitter has just done to him,” said Jack Balkin, a Yale University constitutional law professor.
Trump has claimed for long that this social and micorbloging platform is biased in favour of Democrats but has never presented facts or evidence.