Donald Trump’s executive order regulating social media platforms “plainly illegal”: Senator Wyde

Hemani Sheh Mumbai | Updated on May 29, 2020

US President Donald Trump   -  Reuters

Senator Ron Wyde, co-author of Section 230 on Thursday released an official statement against US President’s recent executive order to roll back certain provisions of the act.

The United States (US) president on Thursday signed an executive order for proposed legislation that intends to scrap or modify certain provisions under Section 230 that protects social media companies including Twitter and Facebook from any liability based on content posted by their users, Reuters had reported.

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump had tweeted on Thursday.

Wyden in a Twitter thread had expressed his opinion on the executive order calling it an “illegal act.”

“I have warned for years that the Trump administration was threatening Section 230 in order to chill speech and bully companies like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter into giving Donald Trump favorable treatment,” Wyden had tweeted.

“Trump’s order is plainly illegal. After driving our country into an economic and health care disaster, Trump is desperately trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress to rewrite decades of settled law around Section 230. All for the ability to spread lies,” he further added.

This is perhaps one of the biggest efforts by the government to regulate social media platforms according to reports. The news had come after Twitter had tagged Trump’s tweets with a “misleading tweet” label earlier this week stating that it contained unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting. The microblogging platform had added a warning to the US President’s tweet prompting readers to fact-check the posts.

"As the co-author of Section 230, let me make this clear: there is nothing in the law about political neutrality. It does not say companies like Twitter are forced to carry misinformation about voting, especially from the president,” Wyden said.

Trump had said that US Attorney General William Barr will immediately begin drafting said legislation to regulate social media companies. It is, however, unlikely to survive legal scrutiny, the Reuters reported.

“Efforts to erode Section 230 will only make online content more likely to be false and dangerous,” Wyden said.

Published on May 29, 2020

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