Trump plans to punish social media companies for fact-checking his lies

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Trump said he will sign an executive order that clamps down on social media companies.

Angry that Twitter put a disclaimer on his tweets that pointed out his lies about vote-by-mail, Donald Trump on Thursday plans to sign an executive order to "strongly regulate" social media companies, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters Wednesday night.

Trump confirmed he was taking some sort of action in a tweet late Wednesday night.

"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," Trump tweeted. "I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!"

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It's unclear what the executive order will fully entail — or even what he has the authority to do under the law. Many of the executive orders Trump has signed during his tenure don't actually do much aside from making it look like he is taking action.

Politico reported that Trump may revoke liability protections that shield social media companies from being responsible for the content on their sites. Those protections are part of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which says social media companies cannot be held liable if they make a "good faith" effort to police content that's "obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable."

However, CNN reported that Trump has limited legal authority to unilaterally change a federal law like the act.

CNN's Brian Fung reported that the order looks similar to one drafted in August 2019 that called for the Federal Communications Commission to reinterpret the Communications Decency Act, as well as study if there is bias on the platforms against conservatives. There is no evidence such bias exists.

CNN also reported that the FCC was not consulted on the new executive order, a possible sign that the administration was rushing to curate action following a Trump tweet, which has been a pattern during Trump's tenure.

It's unclear when Trump will sign the order.

Currently, Trump only has one event on his public calendar: A briefing on the 2020 hurricane season that is closed to reporters.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.