WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBC) – A possible battle is brewing between President Trump and social media giants like Twitter and Facebook.
The president was furious this week, promising “big action” after Twitter labeled two of his tweets with a “fact-checking” notice for the first time ever.
The president vowed to “strongly regulate” biased social media companies or even “close them down.”
The president wrote: “BIG tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election. If that happens, we no longer have our freedom.”
It comes after Twitter, for the first time, added a fact-checking footnote on two of his tweets that called mail-in ballots “substantially fraudulent.”
The president earlier threatened to “strongly regulate, or close them down” despite the fact that a president has no authority to shut down a private company.
The president, who has 80million followers on Twitter, is set to sign an executive order Thursday, the details not yet public. But the Washington Post reporting it “could open the door for federal officials to try to penalize Facebook, Google and Twitter for the way they moderate content on their sites.” That’s according to two people familiar with the matter. The White House is not commenting.
In an interview with Fox News, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked if Twitter made the wrong decision fact-checking the president. He replied, “We have a different policy than Twitter on this. I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think in general these private companies, these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey responded, writing in part: “We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.” He continued in another tweet, “This does not make us an “arbiter of truth.” Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves.”
According to the Post, that executive order, will take aim at a law known as Section 230 which spares tech companies from being held liable for the comments and content posted by their users. But that could have serious implications when it comes to free speech and is almost certain to face a likely court challenge.