Twitter fact-checks Chinese official's claims that coronavirus originated in U.S.

Joanna Estrada
May 29, 2020

"Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they're a neutral platform, which they're not".

Legal experts greeted the order with heavy skepticism, saying, absent a new law passed by Congress, it would not be legally binding.

But an undated draft version of the order obtained by The Washington Post on Wednesday said "we can not allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online".

The key portion of Section 230 is only 26 words long and reads, "No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider".

News of the order comes after Trump threatened to shut down websites he accused of stifling conservative voices following a dispute with Twitter after the company made a decision to tag Trump's tweets about unsubstantiated claims of fraud in mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts. "If platforms were not immune under the law, then they would not risk the legal liability that could come with hosting Donald Trump's lies, defamation and threats". A Facebook spokeswoman said the Fox and CNBC interviews had been scheduled the prior week. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016.

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

Mr. Barr will work with states on developing their own regulations, the president said.

And changing the Communications Decency Act to "impose political neutrality on social media companies" could see the platforms filled with "legal content they'd otherwise like to remove" such as pornography, violent imagery and racism.

Dorsey said Trump's tweets may have misled people into thinking they did not need to register to receive a ballot.

Proof Trump might trod this route was evident in his warning Wednesday that the federal government would "strongly regulate" or "close them (social media companies) down" if they continue to "silence conservative voices". In an earlier tweet, he said that Twitter was "completely stifling free speech".

Dorsey fired back in a tweet posted Wednesday night, saying the fact-check was created to make sure people didn't misunderstand the president's tweet and believe they didn't need to register to vote in order to receive an absentee ballot.

Mr Trump wrote a similar post on Facebook post about mail-in ballots on Tuesday, and no such warnings were applied.

Twitter says it enforces its rules "impartially for all users, regardless of their background or political affiliation".

Furthermore, the U.S. president contended that he would delete his Twitter account if it was not for the unfair reporting of the United States news media.

"The tweets in question contain potentially misleading and harmful content about COVID-19 and have been labeled to provide additional context to the public".

The president, who often uses Twitter as a megaphone to tout his victories and blast his critics, responded to the fact-checking labels by threatening to shut down social media companies despite not having the sole authority to do so.

Twitter says common reasons for suspending accounts are abusive tweets and spam - not the censoring of political opinions.

The order would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that the companies are "suppressing free speech when they move to suspend users or delete posts", The New York Times reported, citing two senior administration officials.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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