News

Science & Tech

Trump Signs Executive Order Challenging Liability Protections for Social Media Companies

(Pixabay)

President Trump signed an executive order on Thursday designed to challenge liability protections for social-media companies after Twitter placed a fact-check label on a series of tweets in which the president criticized voting-by-mail as susceptible to fraud.

The order directs the U.S. commerce secretary to file a petition with the Federal Trade Commission to clarify what kinds of speech should be permitted on social media sites without those sites incurring liability. Currently, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act exempts social-media companies from liability in case of a post by a third party containing false or misleading information.

Social-media companies have had “unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter virtually any form of communication between private citizens or large public audiences,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “What [these companies] choose to fact-check and what they choose to ignore or even promote is nothing more than political activism.”

The president also said of Twitter, “I think we shut it down as far as I’m concerned but I’d have to go through a legal process…if it were able to be legally shut down I would do it.”

Attorney General William Barr, speaking alongside Trump, indicated that a full reinterpretation of Section 230 of the CDA would have to be accomplished through litigation as well as legislation.

Social-media companies grew “because they held themselves out as free public forums, where a variety of diverse voices can come on and be heard,” Barr said. “That’s why people joined them. But now that they have become these very powerful networks…they’ve now switched, and [are] using that market power to force particular viewpoints.”

Some conservatives, including big-tech hawk Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), have backed Trump’s push to end liability protections for social-media companies. The sentiment is shared by Democrats including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and former vice president Joe Biden.

Send a tip to the news team at NR.

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

U.S.

Baby Please Come Back, Says Andrew Cuomo

Then-mayor Mike Bloomberg famously described New York City in 2003 as a “luxury product,” and therefore priced accordingly. The price hasn’t changed, except to go up slightly — taxes, rents, everything. But few would argue that the product New York offers remains first-rate. The theaters are closed. The ... Read More
U.S.

Baby Please Come Back, Says Andrew Cuomo

Then-mayor Mike Bloomberg famously described New York City in 2003 as a “luxury product,” and therefore priced accordingly. The price hasn’t changed, except to go up slightly — taxes, rents, everything. But few would argue that the product New York offers remains first-rate. The theaters are closed. The ... Read More
World

The ‘Rough Sex’ Problem

John Broadhurst, a 41-year-old multi-millionaire from the United Kingdom — convicted of “manslaughter by gross negligence” after he killed his 26-year-old girlfriend Natalie Connolly during so-called “rough sex” — will walk free after serving only half of his 44-month sentence. Like many countries, ... Read More
World

The ‘Rough Sex’ Problem

John Broadhurst, a 41-year-old multi-millionaire from the United Kingdom — convicted of “manslaughter by gross negligence” after he killed his 26-year-old girlfriend Natalie Connolly during so-called “rough sex” — will walk free after serving only half of his 44-month sentence. Like many countries, ... Read More
U.S.

A Stay-at-Home Mom on Her Reasons for Leaving Portland

While covering events (see here and here) in Portland, Ore., National Review writer Luther Abel sat down with Joanna -- a college-educated, stay-at-home mom and now Trump voter -- who feels it is no longer safe or healthy to live there. They discussed the change that has happened in the city politically, the ... Read More
U.S.

A Stay-at-Home Mom on Her Reasons for Leaving Portland

While covering events (see here and here) in Portland, Ore., National Review writer Luther Abel sat down with Joanna -- a college-educated, stay-at-home mom and now Trump voter -- who feels it is no longer safe or healthy to live there. They discussed the change that has happened in the city politically, the ... Read More