FB, Twitter are for “radical Left”, legal steps needed, says Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump said the government is eyeing “concrete legal steps” against social media sites that he alleges are censoring conservatives online, issuing a renewed threat against Silicon Valley as he nudged Republicans across the country to open their own investigations into the matter.
During an event at the White House, the US President said tech giants have bent “at the urging of the radical left” to limit the reach of conservative users, including himself, even though he retains a vast audience online while blasting at the tech industry.
This is not the first time that Trump has attacked the tech industry, prior to this it has been alleged that he charged Google, Twitter, Facebook, and other popular social media sites for limiting the reach of conservative news sites and users. But never have been able to prove his claim.
After observing that social media companies have been trying to limit the reach of Trump's posts which are controversial, can question the legitimacy of the 2020 election and have the potential of inciting violence, Trump has increased his attacks on them.
Trump was joined by nine Republican state attorneys general on Wednesday for his broadside, and they also supported Trump's belief that tech giants are being biased against conservatives.
William P. Barr, U.S. Attorney General later encouraged the leaders of the GOP and stressed that the federal government does not “prevent the states from using their own state laws against platforms that are engaged in defrauding or misleading users.”
In an interview, the Republican attorney general of South Carolina, Alan Wilson said, “the concern we have is the large amount of anecdotal evidence that supports the idea some of these private companies may be treating certain groups differently.”
Wilson also added that the conversation, some of which was closed to the public, focused on the “states’ role” in combating political bias of any sort — and said the work with the Trump administration is only beginning.
Congress has been asked by the Justice Department to formulate regulations that would legally bind Twitter, Google, and Facebook for the way they regulate content on their respective sites. And on the same day, administration officials of White House blasted Silicon Valley.
This new request of the Congress has asked to take down the federal law's provision of Section 30 that spares social media sites from being legally responsible for the content uploaded by their users and also their decisions of regulating content as per their preferences.
“For too long Section 230 has provided a shield for online platforms to operate with impunity,” said Barr. “Ensuring that the internet is a safe, but also vibrant, open, and competitive environment is vitally important to America.”
Even though both Republicans and Democrats are in sync with the proposal of legally binding social media sites for the content regulations, the approach of Trump's administration is unlikely to change the trend. It has been suggested by the Democratic lawmakers that the administration must focus on regulating election disinformation, extremism, and hate speeches on the internet.
In this tense election year, the tensions between the US President and tech giants are likely to get more intense. Despite Trump's attacks, social media sites have been removing his posts from their respective sites which they term controversial.
Not even a week ago, Twitter decided to take action against Trump's two tweets that have been alleged to question the legitimacy of the 2020 elections. Twitter labelled Trump's comments and directed its users to the site that provided information on how “voting by mail is safe and secure.”
After nearly 30 minutes of Twitter's action and his initial tweet, he claimed that the company deliberately surfaces and promotes “anything bad, Fake or not, about President Donald Trump.”
So obvious what they are doing,” he continued. “Being studied now!”
The US president had signed an executive order to target social media sites after Twitter took action against his tweet on demonstrations about racial justice in Minneapolis by hiding that.
In the order, the Federal Communications Commission was asked to rethink Section 230 and the legal shield it provides to the tech giants and also asked to probe the companies' measures of policing the web.
For Barr, the order directed him to convene his state counterparts and work together “regarding the potential enforcement of State statutes that prohibit online platforms from engaging in unfair or deceptive acts or practices.” The US president also ordered the working group to develop “model legislation” to beef up state consumer protection laws so that they can be used to penalize perceived instances of political bias.
It has been reported by the Washington Post that states such as Texas in the past have suggested they could tap laws prohibiting unfair or deceptive acts and practices to hold companies accountable for the way they police content online. Aides to Ken Paxton, Texas’s Republican attorney general, have publicly and privately signalled they have explored using such authorities to probe Google. The search and advertising giant, which owns YouTube, also faces an antitrust probe by state and federal competition watchdogs. A federal case could be filed in the coming days.
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