President Donald Trump on Thursday signed an executive order cracking down on so-called “censorship” by social media sites, a move widely seen by critics as retaliation against Twitter’s decision to slap fact-checking labels on the president’s tweets.
The executive order, which targets companies granted liability protections through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, came two days after Twitter, for the first time, added warning links to two of Trump’s tweets, inviting readers to “get the facts.”
The president’s tweets made a series of claims about state-led mail-in voting services, an issue Trump has railed against in recent weeks.
The labels, when clicked, led Twitter users to a page describing Trump’s claims as “unsubstantiated.”
“Trump falsely claimed that mail-in ballots would lead to ‘a Rigged Election.’ However, fact-checkers say there is no evidence that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud,” Twitter’s fact-checking page said, citing reporting from CNN, The Washington Post and other news outlets.
Trump said Thursday that social media companies selectively choosing who to fact-check is tantamount to “political activism, and it’s inappropriate.”
“I think we shut it down, as far as I’m concerned, but I’d have to go through a legal process,” the president told reporters. “If it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it.”
Trump said he would shut down Twitter, if he could: “If it were legal, if it could be legally shut down, I would do it.” But Trump also told reporters he's not deleting his account.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) May 28, 2020