For a guy who uses Twitter to spread his message, he seems to really hate the platform. What’s triggered him? The fact that Twitter has begun to add fact check links to some of his posts.
This has made the Orange Man crazy. This week, he signed an executive order that demands a crackdown what he sees as (a) the suppression of free speech; and (b) interference in the US presidential election.
Two problems with this.
First, he’s demanding that the US Federal Communications Commission look into repealing a section of the Communications Decency Act (sec. 230, to be precise) that limits websites and tech companies from lawsuits. That section reads as follows: “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” It provides broad immunity from being sued and has become known as The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet.
I quote from the executive order:
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online. This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”
Second, to change this law, Trump would need the cooperation of Congress (unlikely) and the Senate (maybe, but…). Good luck with that.
And third, this isn’t a free speech issue to begin with. Twitter is a private company that can police what people post on its platform.
And gee, isn’t Twitter Trump’s biggest megaphone? Isn’t it what he uses to spread his messages and lies? Shut them down and…what?
Go Jack Dorsey, go.
UPDATE: Taylor Swift is not impressed.