Ethics & Public Policy Center

Trump’s Social Media Executive Order Is a Big Mistake

Published in The Washington Post


President Trump announced an executive order on Thursday addressing the exemption from legal liability that social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook enjoy for content posted on their sites by users. The order is both premature and misguided.

The role that social media giants play in political and cultural debates has become increasingly contentious. Progressives blame Facebook and others for permitting misleading and false ads and narratives to exist on their sites during the 2016 election. They have pushed those companies to police political speech they deem inappropriate. Conservatives, on the other hand, feel threatened by the major Silicon Valley firms. They know that overwhelmingly most tech executives and employees dislike conservatives’ views on issues such as abortion and transgender rights. They fear their access to the increasingly important means of communication will be censored absent federal intervention, and many support efforts to force the giants to keep their platforms open to all.

Trump’s action was prompted by Twitter’s decision this week to place a fact-check on two of Trump’s tweets that alleged mail-in voting encourages voter fraud, a claim many election analysts say is patently false. The decision to fact-check Trump’s tweets is a de facto editorial comment showing that Twitter disapproved of their content.

Click here to read the rest of this piece at the Washington Post’s website.

Henry Olsen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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