WASHINGTON: United States President Donald Trump has signed an order in which he has sought to scrap the law that protects social media companies in an attempt to regulate social media platforms where he has been criticized.
The executive order called on government regulators to evaluate if online platforms should be eligible for liability protection for content posted by their millions of users.
Trump had attacked Twitter for tagging his tweets about unsubstantiated claims of fraud about mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.
The move comes few days after a dispute from the US President against Twitter after the platform for the first time labelled two of his tweets, on the increasingly contentious topic of mail-in voting, with fact-check notices, calling them misleading.
Through the order, Trump wants to change a provision of a law known as Section 230 that shields social media companies from liability for content posted by their users. Under the law, social networks are not generally held responsible for content posted by their users but can engage in ‘good-Samaritan blocking’, such as removing content that is obscene, harassing, or violent.
It also says ‘deceptive’ blocking of posts, including removing a post for reasons other than those described in a website’s terms of service, should not be offered immunity.
Twitter called the order a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law and said that attempts to weaken Section 230 would threaten the future of online speech. Social media companies have been under pressure from many quarters, both in the United States and other countries, to better control misinformation and harmful content on their services.
Earlier on Wednesday, Twitter for the first time prompted readers to check the facts in two of the tweets posted by Donald Trump, warning that his claims in tweets were false and had been debunked by fact-checkers which has been introduced by the social networking platform.