US President Donald Trump signed the decisive decree on social media companies. “Social media companies will no longer be exempt from responsibility,” said Trump, who targeted Twitter, labeling the two messages he shared at the signature ceremony in the White House as “in need of confirmation.
“Today we are here to defend freedom of expression against one of the biggest dangers,” President Trump said at the signature ceremony, which also included Justice Minister William Barr at the Oval Office.
Trump, who has been criticizing social media companies for silencing conservative voices and acting biased for a while and frequently targeting their competitors on Twitter, accused these companies of creating a “monopoly”.
“They had unlimited power to censor, restrict, correct, shape, hide and change any communication between citizens or large audiences. “There was no other example in American history where so few companies controlled such a wide range of interactions,” said Trump. We are fed up. ”
“Twitter is doing political activism”
Trump especially emphasized Twitter in his criticism of social media platforms; “ Twitter’s choice to check the accuracy of a content or ignore it is nothing more than political activism. This is not the right approach. ”
The U.S. President argued that Twitter took a “editorial stance” with “confirmation” or “correction” decisions regarding shared content.
“Companies will no longer be exempt from responsibility”
President Trump signaled that if social media companies take action to censor posts or to fix shared content, they can also change the law to avoid exemption from liability.
Within the scope of article 230 of the Communications Compliance Act in force in the USA, these companies are considered as “platforms” rather than “publishers” who may be sued for their content. In other words, the law provides social media companies with an exemption from responsibility for content.
In his speech while signing the decree, President Trump said that technology platforms reached more audiences than newspapers or other media. He also underlined that they will develop policies to ensure that income from taxpayers does not go to companies that put pressure on freedom of expression.
Criticisms have been brought to the agenda that the decree regarding social media companies may cause legal problems or even be the subject of litigation. Trump said they are expecting various cases to be filed.
Will Trump close her Twitter account?
US President Trump, who has been actively using his Twitter account since he took office in 2016, was asked why he did not delete his account during the signing ceremony at the Oval Office.
Trump said, “There is false reporting. “If there was a fair press in this country, I would do it without thinking.”
Underlining that he has reached a very wide audience from his social media accounts, the US President said, “There is nothing I want more than getting rid of my Twitter account. But if you add other accounts like Facebook, Instagram, I reach 186 million people. A very large audience. Even more than the number of these media companies “When there is something wrong, I can share something on social media. People also read what I wrote next day, hour or minute. I can refute false news. This is very important.”
The decree signed by Trump instructs federal executive agencies to request a review of whether the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission can introduce new rules for social media companies.
The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission are agencies affiliated with the Congress, that is, outside the Trump administration. There are also those who consider President Trump’s decree to social media companies as a political move, since it is not clear exactly how it will be implemented without taking a step from the Congress on the subject.
Justice Minister William Barr also argued at the signing ceremony that technology companies acted as “broadcasters” with the great power they gained. He stated that article 230 of the law regarding the decree signed by President Trump will be shaped according to the “intended scope”. Barr also announced that they will prepare a draft law on the subject in the future.