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President Donald Trump signed an executive order that he said would limit liability protections social-media companies enjoy after Twitter Inc. began selective fact checks of his posts on the platform.
Under current law, companies like Twitter and Facebook Inc. are protected for users’ posts. The companies “will not be able to keep their liability shield” under the order, Trump told reporters at the White House.
A White House spokesman said the president signed the order after reporters were escorted out of the Oval Office. The text of the order wasn’t immediately released.
Trump’s move comes after Twitter earlier this week labeled two of his posts about mail-in voting “potentially misleading” and provided links to news coverage of his comments. The president responded with outrage, accusing the social media company of censorship and election interference and threatening to possibly shut down the service.
“I’m signing an executive order to protect and uphold the free speech rights of the American people,” Trump said. “Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform, which they’re not.”
If it were legal for him to shut down Twitter, Trump said, “I would do it.”
Attorney General William Barr, who joined Trump for his remarks, said the order would not repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which provides social-media companies their liability protection.
“But it’s been stretched and I don’t know of anyone in Capitol Hill who doesn’t agree that it’s been stretched beyond its original intention,” he said. “I think this will help get back to the right balance.”
Earlier Thursday, Trump called out a single Twitter employee, head of site integrity Yoel Roth, Ton hursday in a tweet complaining that the platform’s decision to fact-check his tweets on voting by mail could “taint” the U.S. election.
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In This Story: Donald Trump
This story features US President Donald Trump. Donald John Trump is the 45th and current president of the United States. Before entering politics, he was a businessman and television personality. See more Donald Trump news here.