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Trump signed a decree on the regulation of social networks and threatened to close Twitter

On May 28, US President Donald Trump signed an executive decree, which, according to the White House, will help regulate the activities of social networks and deprive them of protection from accusations of defamation, writes Air force.

Photo: Shutterstock

“We have gathered today to protect freedom of speech from one of the main dangers,” the US president explained his decision answering journalists' questions in the Oval Office.

The document, signed by Trump, cancels the effect of paragraph 230 of the Act in force in the United States, which defines the rules of conduct, in particular in social networks (Communications Decency Act). This paragraph relieves the largest technology companies of responsibility for the content of messages posted on the platforms they created. Thus, let’s say, Twitter and Facebook were protected from possible lawsuits for defamation and defamation.

Online platforms, according to the decree, conduct selective censorship, mark content as inappropriate, even if it does not violate any of the stated conditions for the provision of services, make undeclared and inexplicable changes to company policies that lead to the discrediting of certain points of view, delete content and entire accounts without warning and without justification, writes "RBK".

The decree gives regulators the right to file lawsuits against social networks based on how they control content on their platforms. The immunity granted to social networks should not be applied if they edit or delete user content on grounds that are not described in the license agreement with the user, because in this case they “use their power to censor content and gloss over points of view that they don’t like.”

In the summer of 2019, the administration’s attempt to submit such a decree failed after representatives of the FTC and FCC protested, saying that such a move would turn the White House into a “police force”. These are independent bodies, they are not subordinate to the president.

Experts doubt that the President of the United States may by decree terminate the 230th paragraph of the Act, adopted in 1996. Most of them agree that the president’s decision will be immediately challenged in court.

However, a new White House initiative could force major tech companies, including Twitter, Facebook and Google, to moderate social media posts more aggressively in order to avoid possible lawsuits. The tweets of the US President himself may also become a "victim" of such a policy.

Washington, however, is not sure how effective the new presidential decree might be. To amend the law, an appropriate decision by Congress will be required, but they have already made it clear on Capitol Hill that they are not going to support Donald Trump's initiative. In a special statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the president's decision "politically motivated" and "biased."

On the subject: Twitter adds Trump tag to trump: president is furious

On May 27, Trump publicly threatened to move to a tougher regulation of social networks in the US if they continue to "drown out the voices of conservatives." The president made such a statement after several of his posts on Twitter were marked with a special icon that warned readers that the information contained in them may be false and requires additional verification. In Trump's publications, it was said that Democrats, by sending residents of some states ballot papers by mail at the upcoming presidential elections in November, are trying to create conditions for fraud.

In the trump tweets, which the administration of the social network has designated as inconsistent with the facts, it was said that the expansion of the voting by mail will create conditions for large-scale stuffing. With this warning, tweets are still available to everyone. All studies of postal voting in the United States indicate that fraud is an extremely rare occurrence.

Trump threatened to close Twitter in the United States

He stated this immediately after signing the document on the regulation of American social networks.

“I think I could close it [Twitter]. But you need to go through legal procedures. If it were possible to legally close it, I would do it, ”said the American president.

“We cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to manually select the words that Americans can share on the Internet,” Trump added.

“This practice is essentially anti-American and anti-democratic. When large and powerful social media companies censor opinions that they disagree with, they display dangerous power. They cease to function as passive message boards and should be considered as creators of content, ”the document says.

 

Twitter head Jack Dorsey wrote in response: "We will continue to point out incorrect or contested information about elections around the world."

“If someone is responsible for the actions of the company, it's me. Please leave our employees aside, ”added Dorsey.

At the same time, he emphasized that such actions do not make Twitter an “arbiter of truth.”

“Our goal is to bring together conflicting statements and show information from different angles so people can evaluate it themselves,” said Dorsey. “Maximum transparency is important to us so that people can clearly see the reason for our actions.”

On the subject: “There will be no peaceful transfer of power”: can Trump cancel the election and remain president

Trump later wrote the same post on Facebook as the one noted by the warning on Twitter. On this network, no marks were attached to the message. The head of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has repeatedly said that he does not want his company to assume the role of arbiter of truth. He opposed tightening control over social networks in the United States.

“I need to understand exactly what they intend to do. In general, the decision of the authorities to censor any platform <…> does not seem to me the right reaction, ”he said in an interview with Fox News.

Twitter has long been criticized for allowing fake accounts and misinformation to spread on its platform. In early May, the network tightened its anti-disinformation policy. US tech giants Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon are being investigated by U.S. regulators for monopolistic practices and user privacy violations.

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