The White House is drafting an executive order intended to address allegations of anti-conservative bias at major social-media companies.
The specifics of the executive order, such as how it would define bias at what penalties it would impose, remain unclear since the document has not yet been finalized, three White House officials told Politico.
“If the internet is going to be presented as this egalitarian platform and most of Twitter is liberal cesspools of venom, then at least the president wants some fairness in the system,” one White House official told Politico. “But look, we also think that social media plays a vital role. They have a vital role and an increasing responsibility to the culture that has helped make them so profitable and so prominent.”
News of the nascent executive order comes one month after President Trump vowed, during a gathering of right-wing social-media personalities, to study “all regulatory and legislative solutions” to combat the anti-conservative bias that he argues runs rampant on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.
The pair of mass shootings that claimed 31 lives over the weekend also may impact the contents of the executive order. Calls for tech platforms to censor violent content have escalated in the wake of shootings carried out by young men who share their violent ideologies with others on sites such as 8chan.
“They have a role, if not a responsibility, to monitor the content on their sites to ensure that people aren’t threatened with violence or worse, and at the same time to provide a platform that protects and cherishes freedom and free speech, but at the same time does not allow it to descend into a platform for hate,” the White House official said.
In a largely symbolic gesture, Trump signed an executive order earlier this year requiring that universities agree to promote free speech on campus before they become eligible to receive federal funds.