Following a dispute with the Twitter platform, which called its publication “unreliable”. US President Donald Trump signed a decree on the regulation of social networks. According to the document, political censorship platforms are exempt from their immunity and may be shut down. Twitter officials called the politician’s remarks “reactionary and politically motivated.” And lawyers said Trump’s decision violated the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
US President Donald Trump has signed a decree that threatens social networks. Business Insider reported that the companies that own them with harsh sanctions
“Today we will protect freedom of speech from one of the greatest dangers,” Trump said at a meeting with reporters before signing the document.
This decision was made by the American president two days after his conflict with Twitter. The moderators of the platform marked two of his publications as “inaccurate.” They were talking about voting by mail because of the coronavirus pandemic. Donald Trump argued that such elections can not be considered fair since voting by mail is easy to falsify.
These presidential posts were marked with a special sign that sends users to a separate page. It says that there is no evidence of a threat to elections when voting by mail. At the same time, the publications themselves remained on Twitter. They are distinguished from other posts only by a special mark.
These measures on the platform side outraged Donald Trump. Which led to the emergence of a new decree. According to the president, before the document appeared about the social network. According to the document the social networks “could do whatever they wanted.”
“Social networks, like Twitter, had unprecedented liability protection based on the theory that they are a neutral platform. The Executive Decree is intended to introduce new regulations based on Section 230 of the Communications Ethics Act. Social networks involved in censorship or political actions will no longer be protected from liability, ”the president said.
Section 230 of the aforementioned law gives social networks wide powers in the field of moderation of content on their platforms. In addition, according to him, IT companies are not responsible for the comments and other content that users publish.
If the new Trump decree comes into force, then social networks will lose their integrity if they take any measures that are deemed discriminatory against users.
In addition, the document states that the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is required to monitor compliance by technology companies with a ban on participating in any “misleading or dishonest practices”.
“When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions they disagree with. It gives them a dangerous power. They lose their importance as passive forums for communication and should be considered as creators of content, ”the presidential decree says.
The document separately identifies the Twitter platform. Which “now selectively distributes warning labels to certain publications in a manner that objectively expresses political bias.”
It is noted that previously not a single tweet of politicians on the platform was marked with a similar sign, except for messages by Donald Trump.
The leadership of Twitter called the “reactionary and politicized” decree of the US president. As the official statement suggests, Section 230 of the US Communications Ethics Act “protects American innovation and freedom of expression.” It is noted that Trump’s unilateral attempts to establish a new regulation threatens freedom of speech on the Internet.
At the same time, President Trump said that under certain conditions. He allows the closure of Twitter.
“I could close it as far as I know,” Trump said, adding that he would consult with lawyers.
Despite the determination of Donald Trump, experts in the field of regulation of the IT-sphere argue that the decree will not enter into force. According to them, the First Amendment to the US Constitution prohibits the president from closing social networks if he does not agree with their policies.
“The constitution does not work like that. The first amendment protects Twitter from Trump. But He doesn’t protect Trump from Twitter. ” The Ashkhen Ghazaryan, director of TechFreedom non-profit organization, told Business Insider.
In addition, several lawyers told the portal that some parts of the presidential decree are contrary to the laws of the country. Which means they can be easily challenged in court.