Trump has declared war on social media, vowing to either destroy the platforms or regulate them to death after Twitter dared to fact check one of his tweets earlier this week.
U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to order a review of a law that has long protected internet companies, including Twitter and Facebook, an extraordinary attempt to intervene in the media that experts said was unlikely to survive legal scrutiny.
News of the proposed executive order came after Trump attacked Twitter for tagging the President’s tweets about unsubstantiated claims of fraud in mail-in voting with a warning prompting readers to fact-check the posts.
The draft order seen by Reuters directs federal agencies to modify the way a law known as Section 230, which protects internet companies from liability for content posted by their users, is implemented. It also orders a review of alleged “unfair or deceptive practices” by Facebook and Twitter, and calls on the government to reconsider advertising on services judged to “violate free speech principles.”
Officials said on Wednesday that Trump would sign the order on Thursday, although it was not listed on Trump’s official schedule for Thursday released by the White House. The White House, Facebook and Twitter declined comment.
Trump basically has no authority under Section 230 and under First Amendment protections, but the point is yet again a massive distraction from 100,000 dead Americans and 30 million unemployed. After all, Trump needs Twitter as much as Twitter needs Trump.
Facebook and other social media aren't going anywhere either, Trump's entire campaign reelection strategy relies on spreading as much misinformation across these platforms as possible, and Trump will now have 100% free rein to do so. Shutting these platforms down is not going to happen.
But bullying them and terrorizing them is as Steve M. explains.
That's it. That's all he's got. It's how Trump has operated all his life: He's incapable (or unwilling) to grasp any subject in depth, so, in his business years, he would express his primal urges and then tell his lawyers and accountants to go make it happen, somehow. Sometimes it worked, sometimes he went bankrupt.
This is an effective approach for Trump as president when he wants underlings to hurt powerless enemies -- undocumented immigrants at the border, for instance. Smart, evil operatives like Stephen Miller can find ways to give Trump what he wants.
But the social media giants have smart lawyers, and they have the law on their side, starting with the First Amendment. Everyone who works for Trump knows this, so they now have to pretend that they're going to bring Twitter to its knees until Trump forgets his current rage and moves on to some other fit of pique that's equally irrelevant to his job.
Please note that Trump will never use the most obvious tool available to him, one that's constitutionally permissible and that isn't an abuse of his power: He won't quit Twitter.
So Jack Dorsey of Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook will make nice as always and Trump will never, ever be "fact-checked" again by Twitter, that's for sure. Both will capitulate fully.
They would never dare now.