| June 02, 2020
Trump signed an executive order on Thursday, targeting the legal shield that the internet and media companies rely on. This law, also known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, is vital to the vast social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube or companies that the President has long accused without any evidence, of purposely suppressing conservative views During the signing, Trump was joined by Attorney General William Barr, who previously expressed a similar interest in stripping away or limiting the legal protections that the tech companies have. Among the other things, the draft signed argued that these platforms use their legal rights to moderate the content. According to internet rights advocates and tech companies, Section 230 was designed with the aim of protecting internet and media companies from being sued for the content they upload while also allowing them to make moderation choices without being answerable for those decisions.
Twitter stated that the order was reactionary, and a politicized approach was undertaken against a landmark law. Facebook also released a statement that the company believes in protecting the freedom of expression on its platform while protecting the community against any kind of harmful content, including content designed to stop voters from exercise their right to vote. While the idea of knocking down Section 230 does seem like an existential threat to all internet companies, it’s still not clear whether the White House will actually be able to enforce its threats legally. Meanwhile, even if the order does not result in enough repercussions for social media companies, it might intimidate them from further enforcing their platform policy decisions like the ones that made the President retaliate against Twitter this week. Various civil rights groups and internet freedom watchdogs have also denounced the order.
Whatever happens with Donald Trump’s big move against social media companies will most likely impact the President’s base and his allies in Congress and various other corners of the government around the issue. Moreover, the threat may also allow the President to hold new power over some of the tech’s most powerful and often untouchable companies in the coming times.
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