US President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order cutting liability protection from social media companies, meaning they can now be held to account for content published on their platforms.
The president signed the executive order on Thursday, few days after a row with Twitter, which had labelled two of his tweets with warning tags encouraging users to fact-check them.
According to Trump, the checks were “editorial decisions” by Twitter amounting to political activism.
He added that such actions should cost social media companies their liability protection guaranteed under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act because they are treated as “platforms,” rather than “publishers,” which can face lawsuits over content.
For long, Trump, who is a frequent Twitter user, has been accusing tech giants of allowing their left-wing bias lead them into targeting conservatives by fact-checking them or removing their posts.
The executive order directs executive branch agencies to ask independent rule-making agencies including the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to study whether they can place new regulations on the companies — though experts express doubts much can be done without an act of Congress.
Technology groups disagree, saying it would stifle innovation and free speech on the internet, although Trump says it would achieve just the opposite.