‘We’re fed up with it’: Trump signs order aimed at curtailing social media companies

Donald Trump has signed an executive order aimed at curbing protections for social media giants.

The US president is engaged in a public feud with the companies, which he has accused of censoring free speech and bias, and said: “We’re fed up with it.”

It comes as Twitter flagged one of Mr Trump’s tweets about mail-in ballots in California with a fact-check warning.

The twitter page of US President Donald Trump's is displayed on a mobile phone on May 28, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia. - Trump is expected to sign an executive order on May 28, 2020, after threatening to shutter social media platforms following Twitter's move to label two of his tweets misleading. (Photo by Olivier DOULIERY / AFP) (Photo by OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)
Image: Mr Trump has waged a public feud against social media companies

The executive order points out that social media companies, such as Facebook and Twitter, should forgo their legal immunity from the law, should they edit users’ content on their platforms.

Currently, Section 230 offers legal protections to social media platforms, and makes it clear that those companies are not responsible for the content posted on their sites, and therefore should not interfere with it.

However, they are allowed to act when content is violent or harassment.

The order will direct executive branch agencies to speak to independent rule-making agencies, such as the Federal Communications Commissioner, to look at whether new regulations can be enforced on the Silicon Valley giants.

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Mr Trump argues that the fact-checking on his tweets amounts to “editorial decisions” by Twitter, and is akin to political activism.

He has long been engaged in a war of words with social media platforms, frequently saying they are silencing conservative voices online and is using his executive order to argue for freedom of speech online.

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In a decisive election year for the US, it appears Mr Trump is looking to ensure that nothing stands in his path to re-election.

Experts are sceptical as to whether Mr Trump’s executive order will prove to be effective without Congress passing legislation.

The president is reliant on social media, and Twitter in particular, to get his message across to his more than 80 million followers.

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