Donald Trump (73) is pissed off on the short message service Twitter. The social media platform has on Tuesday for the first time subjected a tweet from the US President to a fact check – and promptly issued him a miserable certificate. Trump threatened to close social networks on Wednesday!
Less than 48 hours after the fact check, the US president has finally escalated his private feud with Twitter. He signed a so-called executive order on social networks in the White House on Thursday. BLICK answers the most pressing questions about the presidential decree:
What exactly did Trump decide?
He wants to regulate social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Co. more strictly. Specifically, it is about a clause known as Section 230 that Trump would like to have revised. According to this regulation – part of a law of 1996 – online services cannot be held liable for content published by users such as comments and videos. At the same time, platforms are allowed to act against certain content or users. For example, removing racist or terrorist posts or adding a fact check to a misleading post.
Does Trump use it to censor the Internet?
If he gets away with it, then yes! With the enacted regulation, the first thing now is to revise Section 230. Trump’s ultimate goal is clear: Twitter and Co. should be liable. The US President could use this to sue online services for their fact checks because he has created a legal basis for this. That would mean that social media platforms could no longer unmask Donald Trump’s false statements without legal consequences.
What are Trump’s arguments?
Ironically, his main argument is censorship. He accuses the social networks of an “uncontrolled power” to “censor” and “limit” human interactions. Trump said Thursday that it was about protecting freedom of expression and democracy. Twitter and Co. would suppress views that they did not like. “We can’t let that happen,” he said.
Is the regulation final?
No. Trump has the right to issue as many presidential decrees (“executive orders”) as he wants. But this kind of regulation can always be challenged in court. Means: Trump can decide what he wants. Ultimately, the judges have the final say. And it is certain that there will be a legal dispute in this case. Trump himself admitted it on Thursday and said: “Yes, I am counting on lawsuits. But we are determined to do it. We are fed up! »
What are the chances for Trump in the legal dispute?
Very bad. Right and left legal experts have already expressed serious concerns about the decree. The regulation could be unconstitutional because it violates the rights of private companies after the first constitutional amendment (freedom of speech, freedom of the press, etc.). “The lawsuit will most likely end in defeat for President Trump,” said Alex Wyckoff, a US law expert at the University of California, BLICK. The White House would only have a chance if Congress approved, Wyckoff said. “But even then the question remains to be clarified as to whether the law change is in conformity with the constitution at all.”
What impact does this have on users in the United States?
None at the moment. Only if Trump does go to Congress and the law comes through will users be affected. Then Twitter and Co. can be sued, fact checks are less likely. The problem of fake news could worsen for users.
Why has the dispute escalated?
Because Twitter had subjected a Trump tweet to a fact check for the first time on Tuesday. The US president claimed that absentee voting encourages fraud. Trump particularly attacked the state of California. “Anyone who can walk will get a ballot in California,” Trump said. In this way, ballot papers would also go to people without a residence permit who had no right to vote at all. The short message service then added a link to the tweet with the note: “Find out the facts about postal voting”. The link led to a Twitter page in which Trump’s claims were rejected as “unfounded.”
What is Trump up to?
Observers agree: The US President is campaigning with his private feud. He wants to underline his argument that classic and social media treat him unfairly. Some experts also suggest that Trump may want to distract from his mismanagement in the corona crisis.