Donald Trump signed an executive order today intended to strip social media platforms — Twitter, Facebook, Google — of legal immunity from items posted on the platforms.
It’s an assault on the 1st Amendment, a political stunt and hypocritical, since he and his allies, including in Russia, produce huge quantities of misleading and false information on those platforms.
He’s enraged because Twitter posted a fact-check to one of his dishonest Tweets about mail voting.
Right-wing sycophants, such as Attorney General William Barr, say this is a good thing. They call fact-checking censorship. What they mean is that criticism of Donald Trump should be stricken from the web. Once they’ve come for Twitter, what about newspaper editorial pages?
Anyway, to the point of the headline: The ultra-rightwing, pro-business United States Chamber of Commerce commented:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement today in response to President Trump’s executive order on narrowing liability protections for social media companies:
“We believe that free speech and the right to engage in commerce are foundational to the American free enterprise system. Regardless of the circumstances that led up to this, this is not how public policy is made in the United States. An executive order cannot be properly used to change federal law.”
Of course, this IS about that favorite of business — protection from lawsuits. See Steuart Walton’s pitch for that for civil immunity for Arkansas companies earlier today.
Internet giants have become too big and powerful and influence life in ways that few (including me) fully understand. Facebook is particularly insidious.
But the irony is rich. Trump gets a tame fact-check on a lie he told and he wants to punish Twitter, which allows him to make a baseless claim of murder against a former congressman and TV host.
Social media with less Trump would be a good thing. So …..