After threatening to take action against social media platforms, President Donald Trump has signed an executive order that could allow these companies to be sued for the content posed to their platforms.
On Thursday, May 28, Trump signed the executive order, which reportedly concentrates on the Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law that provides protections for many media and technology companies. Under this section, social media companies are protected from liability against the content that users post on their platforms.
The executive order comes two days after Twitter fact-checked tweets that Trump posted to his social media account. He tweeted that mail-in ballots in the 2020 election would result in significant voter fraud, and Twitter subsequently applied labels to the tweets and provided a link to a fact-check page.
According to Twitter, the labels were designed to provide context for the tweets. A Twitter spokesperson told CNNs that this was the first time Twitter had ever take action to label a tweet from the president as “potentially misleading.”
Trump has framed this as an example of social media companies’ censorship, particularly of conservative voices. He tweeted that the company, by adding the labels, was “interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.”
Currently, it is unclear the total impact that the executive order will have on tech companies, but it will likely be challenged in court.
As of Thursday afternoon, the White House has not released the text of the executive order. However, a copy of the executive order leaked before the signing.