Donald Trump is preparing to sign an executive order targeting the companies on Thursday after Twitter fact-checked an incorrect tweet he posted earlier in the week.
Donald Trump on Thursday said he was preparing to sign an executive order aimed at punishing social media companies for not letting him post unchecked false statements.
"We're here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers," Trump told reporters as he prepared to sign it.
According to reports, the order would challenge the immunity tech companies enjoy for content posted on their sites and let the Federal Trade Commission examine alleged political bias on social media.
Trump has complained for days that by fact-checking his false claims about voter fraud, Twitter was censoring conservatives. "Big Tech is doing everything in their very considerable power to CENSOR in advance of the 2020 Election," he claimed in a Wednesday night tweet. "If that happens, we no longer have our freedom. I will never let it happen! They tried hard in 2016, and lost. Now they are going absolutely CRAZY. Stay Tuned!!!"
But it is Trump who has long waged war on the First Amendment and frequently pushed to limit free speech.
In December 2015, he advocated for "closing" portions of the internet to make it harder for terrorists to recruit. "We're losing a lot of people because of the Internet, and we have to do something. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what's happening. And we have to talk to them," he said at a campaign rally. "Somebody will say, 'Oh, freedom of speech, freedom of speech.' These are foolish people."
At a February 2016 rally, he told supporters he would "open up our libel laws" so that when journalists "write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money."
"We're going to have people sue you like you've never got sued before," he promised.
In October 2017, Trump repeatedly threatened to revoke broadcasting licenses from networks that ran stories that were critical of him. "Network news has become so partisan, distorted and fake that licenses must be challenged and, if appropriate, revoked. Not fair to public!" he tweeted.
That same month, he told reporters that "it's, frankly, disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write. And people should look into it."
In March 2019, he threatened to launch a federal investigation into actor Alec Baldwin's portrayal of him on "Saturday Night Live."
"Like an advertisement without consequences. Same with Late Night Shows," Trump charged. "Should Federal Election Commission and/or FCC look into this? There must be Collusion with the Democrats and, of course, Russia!"
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.