SEVERE WX : Flash Flood Warning - Severe Thunderstorm Warning View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Trump escalating war on Twitter, social media protections

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

Posted: May 28, 2020 2:19 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is escalating his war on social media companies, preparing to sign an executive order Thursday 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.

The proposed order would direct executive branch agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new rules on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.

Trump and his allies, who rely heavily on Twitter to verbally flog their foes, have long accused the tech giants in liberal-leaning Silicon Valley of targeting conservatives on social media by fact-checking them or removing their posts. The executive order was expected to argue that such actions should cost those companies their protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Companies like Twitter and Facebook are granted liability protection under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content.

A similar executive order was previously considered by the administration but shelved over concerns it couldn’t pass legal muster and that it violated conservative principles on deregulation and free speech.

Two administration officials outlined the draft order on the condition of anonymity because it was still being finalized Thursday morning. But a draft was circulating on Twitter — where else?

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.

Trump on Wednesday claimed tech giants “silence conservative voices.” “We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen.”

Trump and his campaign reacted after Twitter added a warning phrase to two Trump tweets that called mail-in ballots “fraudulent” and predicted “mail boxes will be robbed.” Under the tweets, there’s now a link reading “Get the facts about mail-in ballots” that guides users to a page with fact checks and news stories about Trump’s unsubstantiated claims.

Trump accused Twitter of interfering in the 2020 presidential election” and declared “as president, I will not allow this to happen.” His campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said Twitter’s “clear political bias” had led the campaign to pull “all our advertising from Twitter months ago.” In fact, Twitter has banned political advertising since last November.

Late Wednesday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted, “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

Dorsey added: “This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth.’ Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”

On the other hand, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News his platform has “a different policy, I think, than Twitter on this.”

“I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online,” he said.

The president’s critics, meanwhile, scolded the platforms for allowing him to put forth false or misleading information that could confuse voters.

“Donald Trump’s order is plainly illegal,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat and advocate for internet freedoms. He is “desperately trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress. ... All for the ability to spread unfiltered lies.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was “outrageous” that while Twitter had put a fact-check tag on Trump’s tweets asserting massive mail-in election fraud, it had not removed his tweets suggesting without evidence that a TV news host had murdered an aide years ago.

“Their business model is to make money at the expense of the truth and the facts that they know,” she said of social media giants, also mentioning Facebook. She said their goal is to avoid taxes “and they don’t want to be regulated, so they pander to the White House.”

Twitter’s decision to mark Trump’s tweets regarding mail-in balloting came as the president was sparking another social media firestorm, continuing to stoke a debunked conspiracy theory suggesting MSNBC host Joe Scarborough killed a congressional office staffer. Several prominent Republicans have criticized him over those attacks, which haven’t been marked with a fact check by the social media company.

The order was also expected to try to hold back federal advertising dollars from Twitter and other social media companies that “violate free speech principles.”

Meanwhile, the companies are gearing up to combat misinformation around the November elections. Twitter and Facebook have begun rolling out dozens of new rules to avoid a repeat of the false postings about the candidates and the voting process that marred the 2016 election.

The coronavirus pandemic has further escalated the platforms’ response, leading them to take actions against politicians — a move they’ve long resisted — who make misleading claims about the virus.

Last month, Twitter began a “Get the Facts” label to direct social media users to news articles from trusted outlets next to tweets containing misleading or disputed information about the virus. Company leaders said the new labels could be applied to anyone on Twitter and they were considering using them on other topics.

The Democratic National Committee said Trump’s vote-by-mail tweets should have been removed, not just flagged, for violating the company’s rules on posting false voting information.

“After taking too long to act, Twitter once again came up short out of fear of upsetting Trump,” the party said in a statement.

___

AP writers Amanda Seitz and David Klepper contributed.

Terre Haute
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 91°
Robinson
Scattered Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 77°
Indianapolis
Broken Clouds
80° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 83°
Rockville
Broken Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 78°
Casey
Clear
83° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 87°
Brazil
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 91°
Marshall
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 91°
The Heat Continues
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 149574

Reported Deaths: 7273
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook930534651
Lake10039425
DuPage9392477
Kane7909276
Will6996322
Winnebago311897
McHenry214198
St. Clair2054138
Kankakee131265
Unassigned1177210
Rock Island107330
Madison105470
Kendall100622
Champaign97315
Boone61721
DeKalb58720
Peoria57429
Sangamon46233
Jackson34019
McLean28913
Randolph2887
Stephenson2806
Ogle2784
Clinton24317
Macon23822
LaSalle23317
Whiteside20015
Union19519
Coles17917
Grundy1765
Iroquois1675
Tazewell1548
Knox1490
Warren1470
Monroe13713
Cass1367
Adams1341
Williamson1334
Morgan1323
Jefferson10717
Lee1042
McDonough10215
Henry981
Pulaski800
Vermilion792
Marion700
Macoupin603
Perry581
Montgomery561
Douglas540
Livingston532
Christian474
Jasper477
Jo Daviess471
Ford401
Woodford372
Jersey361
Franklin340
Bureau312
Menard260
Mercer250
Washington240
Fayette233
Mason230
Wabash230
Alexander220
Carroll212
Johnson200
Piatt200
Effingham191
Hancock191
Moultrie190
Shelby191
Crawford180
Logan180
Bond171
Cumberland170
Clark150
Fulton150
Massac150
Wayne151
Schuyler130
De Witt120
Marshall120
Edgar110
Brown100
Saline100
Greene80
Henderson80
Lawrence80
White80
Richland70
Hamilton60
Stark60
Gallatin40
Pike40
Clay20
Edwards20
Calhoun10
Hardin10
Pope10
Putnam10
Scott10
Out of IL00

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 48626

Reported Deaths: 2717
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11723689
Lake5212244
Elkhart332051
Allen2815132
St. Joseph198168
Cass16399
Hamilton1596101
Hendricks1414100
Johnson1288117
Porter73637
Tippecanoe7279
Madison66364
Clark66044
Bartholomew58944
Howard58057
LaPorte57926
Vanderburgh5706
Kosciusko5564
Marshall4926
Noble48428
Jackson4723
LaGrange4719
Delaware45050
Boone44943
Hancock44935
Shelby43025
Floyd38244
Morgan32931
Monroe30128
Montgomery29720
Grant29526
Clinton2892
Dubois2836
Henry28016
White26510
Decatur25532
Lawrence24625
Vigo2368
Dearborn23323
Warrick22129
Harrison21622
Greene19032
Miami1842
Jennings17612
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess14717
Wayne1426
Orange13523
Perry1359
Steuben1302
Franklin1268
Ripley1227
Jasper1212
Wabash1132
Carroll1102
Fayette1017
Newton9910
Whitley965
Starke933
Gibson872
Randolph804
Huntington782
Wells751
Jefferson722
Fulton711
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox640
Clay604
Rush583
Adams501
Owen491
Benton480
Sullivan451
Posey440
Spencer411
Blackford392
Brown391
Crawford320
Fountain322
Tipton311
Switzerland270
Martin230
Parke230
Ohio170
Vermillion140
Warren141
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193