U.S. President Donald Trump has fired a shot across the bows of “big tech” companies by signing an executive order that aims to narrow their protections from liability over the content posted on their services, The Guardian reports.
The move came as the US president stepped up his attacks against social media giants after Twitter fact-checked him for the first time over a false assertion that mail-in voting leads to widespread voter fraud.
However, critics said it was the president’s latest effort to spur controversy and create a distraction as the country passed the grim milestone of 101,000 deaths from Covid-19. The Trump administration has faced widespread accusations that it has mishandled the crisis.
“Currently, social media giants like Twitter received unprecedented viability shield based on the theory that they are a neutral platform, which they are not,” the US president said in the Oval Office on Thursday. “We are fed up with it. It is unfair, and it’s been very unfair.”
Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, tech companies currently enjoy broad immunity from civil lawsuits stemming from what users post because they are treated as “platforms” rather than “publishers”.