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Trump signs executive order targeting social media companies

29 May 2020 09:11

WASHINGTON. KAZINFORM - President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting social media companies on Thursday, days after Twitter called two of his tweets «potentially misleading», CNN reports.

Speaking from the Oval Office ahead of signing the order, Trump said the move was to «defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history.»

«A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States,» he claimed. «They've had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.»

The executive order tests the boundaries of the White House's authority. In a long-shot legal bid, it seeks to curtail the power of large social media platforms by reinterpreting a critical 1996 law that shields websites and tech companies from lawsuits. But legal experts on both the right and the left have raised serious concerns about the proposal. They say it may be unconstitutional because it risks infringing on the First Amendment rights of private companies and because it attempts to circumvent the two other branches of government.

«(Trump) is trying to steal for himself the power of the courts and Congress to rewrite decades of settled law,» said Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, the architect of the legislation that the order seeks to reinterpret. «He decides what's legal based on what's in his interest.»

The ordermarks a dramatic escalation by Trump in his war with tech companies as they struggle with the growing problem of misinformation on social media. The President has regularly accused sites of censoring conservative speech.

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Keywords: World News,