Trump signs executive order cracking down on social media platforms after Twitter clash

Trump signs executive order cracking down on social media platforms after Twitter clash

- President Trump has signed an executive order aimed at cutting the power of social media platforms, after his row with Twitter

- The executive order seeks to remove the legal protections or immunity enjoyed by the social media platforms

- Legal experts, however, said the new order will face legal challenges as the US Congress or the court system must be involved

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The president of the United States, Donald Trump, has signed an executive order which is aimed at removing some of the legal protections or immunity enjoyed by social media platforms.

BBC reports that the executive order empowers the regulators to pursue legal actions against Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms for the way they police content on their platforms.

Legit.ng gathers that the new executive order seeks to clarify the Communications Decency Act, an American law that gives social media platforms legal protection in certain situations.

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For instance, a section of the law, 230, gives social networks legal protection against content posted by their users. For instance, Facebook cannot be prosecuted or held responsible for content posted by a Facebook user under the law.

Trump signs executive order cracking down on social media platforms after Twitter clash
Trump signs executive order cracking down on social media platforms after Twitter clash. Photo credit: Whitehouse.gov
Source: UGC

However, the new order by Trump states that this legal immunity does not apply if a social media platform edits content posted by its users.

This US president, by the order, is now calling for legislation from the Congres to remove or change the section which confers legal immunity or protection on the social media platforms.

He said his attorney general will begin crafting a law for Congress to later vote on.

President Trump accused social media platforms of having "unchecked power" while signing the order.

The executive order is, however, expected to face legal challenges as legal experts said the US Congress or the court system must be involved to change the current legal understanding of protections for these platforms.

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What prompted Trump's executive order?

President Trump has regularly accused social media platforms of stifling or censoring conservative voices.

On Wednesday, May 27, he threatened to close down the micro-blogging site, Twitter and other social media platforms.

This threat from President Trump came after he was fact-checked by Twitter following his comment on Tuesday, May 26, that mail-in ballots could encourage fraudulent activities.

Angered by the site's position that his tweet lacked evidence to prove this, Trump asked social media platforms to clear up their act immediately.

The US president claimed that there is a general feeling in the Republican party that social media is out to silence the voices of conservatives.

In another tweet on Wednesday, he promised to regulate the platforms or even close them down.

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In another report, Facebook's CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, has criticised Twitter for fact-checking some tweets posted by President Trump.

Zuckerberg berated Twitter, saying private companies “shouldn't be the arbiter of truth.”

Though Facebook takes down ads that discourage people from voting, Legit.ng gathers that a Facebook spokesperson said Trump’s tweets, which were also posted as Facebook statuses, did not violate its rules, which “focus on misrepresentations that would interfere with the vote.”

Meanwhile, the Nigerian government has dismissed the claim by the US president, Trump, on the use of hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, to prevent COVID-19.

Both the health minister, Osagie Ehanire and the director-general of the NCDC, Chikwelugo Ihekweazu, on Tuesday, May 19, warned Nigerians not to listen to the US president’s claims on hydroxychloroquine.

Ehanire said though the presidential task force on COVID-19 was carrying out a study on the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, the medicine had not been approved for the treatment of the virus.

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He warned Nigerians not to engage in self-medication, noting that the hydroxychloroquine should only be taken based on doctor’s prescription.

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Source: Legit.ng

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