President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Thursday cracking down on online platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, vowing “a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”
The move comes days after Twitter began fact-checking some of his tweets.
The order would push the Federal Communications Commission to write rules on when and how platforms can remove content from their platform and still maintain liability protection granted them under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The law as it stands largely exempts those publications from being held liable for much of the content on their websites.
The working order, which cites Twitter by name, would encourage the Federal Trade Commission to take action against companies that engage in “deceptive” acts of communication.
The order would also create a working group of state attorneys general to review relevant state statutes.
“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.
Without congressional action, there are limits to what Trump can do with an executive order. Still, his words seemingly weighed on social media companies’ share prices Thursday morning. Shares of Twitter were down 5% in premarket trading, while Facebook was down more than 3% and Google was down more than 1%.
Section 230 has become a lightning rod in the debate over online content. Online publishers have defended the statute as necessary to allow people to express their opinions, while their detractors have argued it gives companies like Twitter a way to sidestep regulations imposed on traditional publishers, despite the crucial role they play in disseminating news.