Lawsuit Argues Trump's Order to Regulate Social Media Violates Free Speech

Henrietta Brewer
June 3, 2020

Twitter, by that point, had already fact-checked a tweet from the president earlier in the week - a move that drew the ire of the president; Trump later signed an executive order calling for the Federal Communications Commission to review the broad legal protections tech companies enjoy to avoid being sued for what users post.

Mr. Zuckerberg told employees on a video chat that Facebook had conducted a thorough review and was right to leave the posts unchallenged, a company spokeswoman said.

A Facebook spokesman said: "We're grateful that leaders in the civil rights community took the time to share candid, honest feedback with Mark and Sheryl [Sandberg, Facebook's COO]".

In his message last Thursday, Trump had included the phrase, "when the looting starts, the shooting starts", which critics said was an allusion to the US era of racial segregation and suppression.

"There isn't a neutral position on racism".


Andrew Crow, head of design for the Portal product, said he disagrees with Zuckerberg's position and vowed to work to make change.

"Giving a platform to incite violence and spread disinformation is unacceptable, regardless who you are or if it's newsworthy", Crow wrote.

The decision put Facebook at odds with Twitter, which covered the president's tweet with a notification, saying it broke its rule against "glorifying violence". The message linked out to a curated fact-check page Twitter had created, filled with links and summaries of news articles debunking the assertion.

Amid the ongoing spat between U.S. president Donald Trump and Twitter after the latter flagged a post by the American president on the ongoing protests against the murder of an African-American man named George Floyd, the social media platform on Wednesday posted a detailed thread outlining its policies and principles and their enforcement process while highlighting controversial tweets.

"We also believe it's important people can read and speak about what world leaders say, even if they violate our rules,"said Twitter".


The series of messages came almost a week after Twitter flagged a message posted by President Trump, saying the message had "violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence". They complained the company should have acted against Trump's posts containing the phrase "when the looting starts, the shooting starts".

Trump said he took action to "defend free speech" from the alleged censorship and bias of social media companies.

Privately, Zuckerberg described his reaction to Trump's posts as one of "disgust", according to audio of a company meeting obtained by The Verge.

As well, Facebook has banned some accounts and groups related to the QAnon political conspiracy theory, as well as those violating the site's terms by spreading coronavirus misinformation.

The criticism came following a discussion involving the Facebook CEO and leaders of rights organizations to discuss the platform's hands-off policy on Trump's posts after Twitter flagged or reduced the visibility of similar comments.


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