WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump signed an order Thursday seeking to strip social media giants like Twitter of legal immunity for content on their platforms in a move slammed by his critics as a legally dubious act of political revenge.
The executive order calls on government regulators to evaluate if online platforms should be eligible for liability protection for content posted by their millions of users.
If enforced, the action would upend decades of precedent and treat internet platforms as “publishers” potentially liable for user-generated content.
Trump told reporters at the White House he acted because big tech firms “have had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences.”
“We can t let this continue to happen,” Trump said.
The move comes a day after an angry tirade from the US leader against Twitter after the platform for the first time labelled two of his tweets, on the increasingly contentious topic of mail-in voting, with fact-check notices, calling them misleading.
“In those moments, Twitter ceases to be a neutral public platform and they become an editor with a viewpoint,” Trump said.
“And I think we can say that about others also, whether you re looking at Google, whether you re looking at Facebook, perhaps others.”