Trump escalating war on Twitter, social media protections

Joanna Estrada
May 28, 2020

In fact, they're thriving. During a news conference on Thursday, Pelosi commented on Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's criticisms of Twitter in relation to the social platform's ongoing conflict with President Donald Trump.

"I guess it was only a matter of time until Donald Trump would be in a Twitter feud with Twitter", Kimmel continued.

Mr Trump and his campaign angrily responded on Tuesday after Twitter added a warning phrase to two of his tweets that called mail-in ballots - which are commonplace in Australia and many other countries - "fraudulent" and predicted that "mailboxes will be robbed", among other things.

Regarding Trump's upcoming executive order related to social media, most details of which are still unclear, she added: "What the president is doing is silly".

The draft order, which has not been finalized, "chiefly seeks to embolden federal regulators to rethink a portion of law known as Section 230", The Washington Post reported.

Matt Schruers, president of technology group the Computer & Communications Industry Association, said "retaliation against the private sector for fact-checking leadership is what we expect from foreign autocracies, not the United States".

Still, Twitter's shares were down 2.5 per cent on Thursday.

"Changing Section 230 is Congress' prerogative, not the president's by fiat", said Laroia. "If Twitter had a sense of humor, they would've labeled that tweet as misleading too", Kimmel joked.

Section 230 "gave companies the go-ahead to launch every single technical intermediary that you depend on for Internet communication", said Daphne Keller, the platform regulation director at Stanford Cyber Policy Center. That's because "the FCC doesn't enforce the relevant law - state and federal courts do that", Zick said.

Trump and Twitter go to war
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey stands by fact-checking of President Donald Trump's tweets

"There are important reasons to restructure the law to make the web more open and free, but this executive order is a distraction".

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, a Democrat, said an executive order that would turn the FCC "into the President's speech police is not the answer".

Jack Balkin, a Yale University law professor and First Amendment expert, said any attempt to regulate social media companies for the content on their sites would likely need congressional input and approval - and probably face strong legal challenges. They're pointing to tweets he sent in 2016 and 2017 railing against the president and his allies.

Trump himself appeared to allude to a forthcoming order on Wednesday, tweeting that a "big action" was coming against Twitter. Trump's executive order might strip away this legal protection.

Twitter said the application of a fact-checking label to the president's tweets was an extension of its new "misleading information" policy, introduced earlier this month to combat misinformation about the coronavirus.

Taking to Twitter, Dorsey doubled down on Twitter's stance on fake news and said that though the platform was not an "arbiter of truth", it would still work toward eradicating fake news by connecting "the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves".

Zuckerberg gets to profess his belief in free speech to maximize profit.

There is not enough data, she says, to suggest the codes that determine which posts get flagged as egregious are inherently biased, though she recommends creating a sandbox in which these alogrithms can be tested. And Trump gets to erode trust in elections with impunity. Everyone wins - except democracy in America.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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