Two days after the dispute, provoked by Twitter’s decision to warn users about potentially misleading messages being sent by the president, the punishment has been decided.
Donald Trump’s vendetta has hit Twitter, his favorite social media platform, which has suddenly turned into his enemy. 48 hours after the dispute, provoked by Twitter’s decision to warn users about potentially misleading messages being sent by the president, the punishment has been decided. As for how effective it will be, it’s simply too early to say. This evening, Trump signed an executive order (the equivalent of a decree) that should make it easier to legally prosecute social networks like Twitter and Facebook if they take on the role of fake news “moderators” by deleting posts or closing accounts. In doing so, the decree attempts to demolish the legal shield that protects social networks and online platforms.
Trump’s theory is that these social platforms have a progressive political agenda, and that their role as moderators is not neutral, actually stating, in his own words, that it’s “political activism.” When announcing his signing of the decree, he added that he would be prepared to close down his own account on Twitter. If this is true, this latest threat is perhaps the most disturbing for social media platforms, which have obtained a larger audience and remarkable publicity from the U.S. president’s daily use. Trump has said that his move serves as a way of defending “free speech from one of the greatest dangers it has faced.”
Having been questioned by journalists about the possibility that the executive order would be blocked by appeals in court, Trump took it for granted: “[W]hat isn’t?” In fact, the issue of decrees during Trump’s presidency has produced many reversals in court. It was one of the first acts of his presidency − the so-called Muslim ban that banned residents of some Islamic countries from entering the U.S. – which introduced this type of battle between appeals and counter-appeals. In this case, the executive order will raise a constitutional challenge as it may violate the First Amendment, which defends the freedom of expression and the press.
In addition, it’s doubtful whether a presidential decree could annul the current regulations that govern the responsibilities of social networks and protect them from legal action. This decree will certainly enter into the arsenal of the electoral campaign: Trump has always accused newspapers and TV of having a predominantly left-wing stance, but now he is adding social media platforms to his circle of enemies that oppress and boycott him.
About this publication