A Washington-based tech group supported by Facebook, Google and Twitter filed a lawsuit against President Trump on Tuesday, alleging that his executive order targeting social media giants threatens to “curtail and chill constitutionally protected speech” during the presidential election.
The challenge brought by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) marks the first major legal test of Trump’s directive, which paves the way for federal agencies to investigate and penalize some of Silicon Valley’s most popular platforms over the way they police politically oriented posts, photos and videos across the Web.
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Lawsuit Says Trump’s Social Media Crackdown Violates Free Speech
President Trump’s crackdown on social media companies faced a new legal challenge on Tuesday, as a technology policy organization claimed in a lawsuit that he violated the companies’ right to free speech with his executive order aimed at curtailing their legal protections.
The nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology says in the suit that Mr. Trump’s attempt to unwind a federal law that grants social media companies discretion over the content they allow on their platforms was retaliatory and would have a chilling effect on the companies.
Trump’s Response to Twitter Is Unconstitutional Harassment by Tim Wu
Last week Twitter began for the first time to suggest that some of President Trump’s tweets might lack a factual basis. It did so by attaching warning labels to messages in which Mr. Trump made false claims about mail-in ballots. The labels were not to the president’s liking, so he complained about them, accusing Twitter of “interfering” in the 2020 presidential election and “stifling” free speech.
Mr. Trump is free, under the Constitution, to complain all he likes. But he didn’t stop there. He also issued an executive order, which named Twitter numerous times, meant to potentially expose the company to considerable legal liability by weakening the legislative protections that social media platforms enjoy for user conduct. Before issuing the order, Mr. Trump warned on Twitter that Republicans “will strongly regulate” social media companies or “close them down” if they continue to “silence conservatives voices.”
Tech-rights group sues Trump to stop social-media order
A tech-focused civil liberties group on Tuesday sued to block President Donald Trump’s executive order that seeks to regulate social media, saying it violates the First Amendment and chills speech.
Trump’s order, signed last week, could allow more lawsuits against internet companies like Twitter and Facebook for what their users post, tweet and stream.
Tech advocacy group’s lawsuit says Trump’s order on social media is unconstitutional
An advocacy group backed by the tech industry sued President Donald Trump on Tuesday over his executive order that would weaken a law protecting online platforms including social media companies that label or fact-check his posts.
The Washington-based Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) said in its lawsuit that Trump’s executive order violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies. It noted that the order was issued after Twitter Inc amended one of Trump’s tweets and called it “plainly retaliatory.”
CDT Suit Challenges President’s Executive Order Targeting First Amendment Protected Speech
Today, the Center for Democracy & Technology filed a lawsuit against President Trump’s “Executive Order on Preventing Online Censorship,” signed May 28, 2020. The suit argues that the Executive Order violates the First Amendment by curtailing and chilling the constitutionally protected speech of online platforms and individuals.
“The Executive Order is designed to deter social media services from fighting misinformation, voter suppression, and the stoking of violence on their platforms,” said CDT President & CEO Alexandra Givens. “Access to accurate information about the voting process and the security of our elections infrastructure is the lifeblood of our democracy. The President has made clear that his goal is to use threats of retaliation and future regulation to intimidate intermediaries into changing how they moderate content, essentially ensuring that the dangers of voter suppression and disinformation will grow unchecked in an election year.”
Reported Executive Order Again Threatens First Amendment and Empowers Government Censorship
President Trump is expected to sign a sweeping Executive Order today that would direct both the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission to engage in the regulation of online speech. “The President is using the threat of regulation to try to coerce social media platforms into moderating speech the way the President sees fit. That runs directly counter to the First Amendment,” said Alexandra Givens, President & CEO of the Center for Democracy & Technology.
“Congress designed Section 230 so that intermediaries can moderate the content they host. It’s precisely that protection that enables social media companies to take steps to combat mis- and disinformation. President Trump may not like the results of that moderation, but he cannot change the law by fiat,” Givens said.
Zuckerberg Defends Hands-Off Approach to Trump’s Posts
Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, on Tuesday stood firmly behind his decision not to do anything about President Trump’s inflammatory posts on the social network, saying that he had made a “tough decision” but that it “was pretty thorough.”