US President Donald Trump has yesterday signed an executive order aimed at cracking down on tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter. This follows a spat between Trump and Twitter involving the flagging of Trump’s tweet as non-factual by the company.
The move angered Trump and has led him to seek new ways to curb what he referred to as “unchecked power” held by social media companies.
“That’s a big deal. They have a shield. They can do what they want,” Trump said Thursday. “They’re not going to have that shield.”
The new order aims at taking away the immunity of tech companies that prevents them from being held liable of content posted by users on the platform.
Through the newly signed order, the Commerce Department and the Federal Communications Commission could now reconsider how a certain law is interpreted which has long prevented tech companies from being held liable of content posted on the platform.
“We’re fed up with it,” Trump said Thursday in the Oval Office. “And it’s unfair, and it’s been very unfair.”
Earlier this week, Twitter fact-checked two of Trump’s tweet which supposedly provided false information about mail-in boxes and voter fraud.
“Twitter now selectively decides to place a warning label on certain tweets in a manner that clearly reflects political bias,” the order read.
Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg argued with Twitter’s decision to fact-check Trump’s tweet saying that Facebook, and other tech companies “shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online.”
Defending the company’s decision, Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, hit back at Zuckerberg in a series of tweets. He said, “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make. This does not make us an ‘arbiter of truth’.”
In an official statement, Facebook says Trump’s order “will restrict more speech online, not less.” “By exposing companies to potential liability for everything that billions of people around the world say, this would penalize companies that choose to allow controversial speech and encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone.”