Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey disagree on fact checking the president

Yolanda Curtis
May 29, 2020

"The Five" co-host Marie Harf said Thursday that President Trump's executive order aimed at social media companies was an effort to "troll Twitter".

Twitter also added fact-checks to tweets from China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, who said the coronavirus outbreak might have started in the USA and then spread to China by the US military.

The tweets made a series of claims about state-led mail-in voting services, an issue Trump has railed against in recent weeks, reported. "So, just because we don't want to be determining what is true and false doesn't mean that the politicians, or anyone else, can just say whatever they want". "What was shocking in those comments, he was open to shutting down Twitter - whatever your opinions, on the left or right, a huge social networking site, the largest on the planet - and that since it was fact-checking him, that's good enough to crack down and maybe look at shutting down Twitter".

That explains why Trump is also pushing for new congressional legislation - a more straightforward way of changing U.S. policy toward social media companies.

It could enlist the Federal Communications Commission to reexamine social media's obligations under Section 230. For example, Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri previous year proposed a law that would subject social media companies to regulatory audits to prove their sites give equal treatment to conservative and liberal viewpoints.

"A lot of the executive order is bluster", said Kate Klonick, a professor of internet law at St John's University.

But legal scholars say the President lacks the power to order changes to a law passed by Congress and can't force federal agencies to comply with requests.

It was the first time the social media company had placed such a label on Trump's tweets.

In an interview with Fox News due to be broadcast on Thursday, Zuckerberg claims that it is not the place of private companies to interfere in what people say online.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at a news briefing that the executive order could be released on Thursday.

The president uses Twitter frequently to promote policies and share his views, with more than 80 million users following him on the platform.

Twitter on Wednesday added fact-checking warnings to tweets by a Chinese government spokesman which falsely accused the United States government of causing the coronavirus pandemic, according to the New York Post.

The order will also collect complaints of online censorship against these platforms and send them to the Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to consider action. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016.

Mr Trump - angered this week by Twitter's tagging of one of his tweets for the first time with a fact-check notice - said regulation was needed because the companies are no longer neutral forums but engaging in "political activism".

"Social media companies that engage in censorship or political conduct can not keep their immunity", Trump said in signing the order, flanked by Attorney General William Barr. The order argues, in essence, that if the social media companies restrict certain voices on their platforms, the companies should be stripped of their legal immunity, opening the doors to a wave of lawsuits over content seen as defamatory. "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". Twitter labeled them with a message urging users to "Get the facts about mail-in ballots".

Nu Wexler, a former spokesman for both companies, said Twitter's political ads decision gave it more freedom to maneuver now.

Other reports by iNewsToday