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Trump signs executive order targeting social media companies

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters about an executive order regarding social media companies as Attorney General Bill Barr listens in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump signs executive order targeting social media companies

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order targeting social media companies.

Trump signs executive order targeting social media companies

The executive order seeks to remove some of the legal protections afforded to social media platforms.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields social media websites like Facebook and Twitter from being sued over the content on their site.

The executive order aims to give regulators the power to pursue legal actions against social media companies over how they police content on their platforms.

The order says legal immunity should not apply if a social network edits content posted by its users or removes a post for reasons other than those described in a website’s terms of service.

The president said the move was to “defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history”.

“A small handful of social media monopolies control a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States,” he said.

“They’ve had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.”

It comes after Twitter added fact-check links to the president’s tweets for the first time, after the president sought to discredit mail-in ballots.

The fact-check warning linked to a page that called Trump’s claims “unsubstantiated”.

In response, Trump tweeted that there was “big action to follow”.

It’s expected that Trump’s executive order will face legal challenges, with experts saying Congress or the court system needs to be involved to change the protections for social media platforms.

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