The controversy between Twitter and US President Donald Trump might not have ended just yet. Previously, the social media giant took a step towards removing some of the tweets by the President, citing objectionable content. The President is considering a discussion with the Republican Attorneys general about changing the key law that is favoring social media companies for the content that is posted online by their users.
Because of this law, when the users of social media sites post anything that is not breaking the law but might be found objectionable content, it is being removed. Considering that Twitter has taken a historical step by censoring the tweets of the US President, a battle is imminent.
To him, online censorship has gone too far. He thinks that this is not just an issue of free speech. By starting talks of removing the law that gives social media companies the power to remove content that they find objectionable, he is also protecting consumer rights. The President wants to give people the right to fight for their freedom of speech, and he wants to enable them to have the resources. As State attorneys general are on the front lines of the issue, the President has been discussing with a few of them to understand their views regarding this problem.
The State attorneys general he will be meeting to discuss the subject belong to Texas, Utah, Arkansas, South Carolina, Missouri, and others. The Washington Post was the first one to break the news that the President is planning to have this meeting with the states.
Is regulatory oversight over social media companies the right decision?
Donald Trump has already signed an executive order looking into bringing oversight over the content moderation policies that some social media sites are exercising. This legislation, if it comes to power, will remove the capability for social media companies to ban whatever content they want on their private websites, citing misguiding the users. The executive order is looking to create legislation to weaken the law in practice named section 230.
He has already spoken to the Commerce Department to bring into action a petition towards the Federal Communication Commission. They want to limit the protections that social media companies enjoy under section 230. This outburst came after Twitter warned that readers might want to fact check all the posts the US president was putting out on the website because many were coming from unsubstantiated sources or even encouraged people to vote twice, commit mail fraud or voter fraud. This is what concerned the organization to take the censorship or flagging action which enraged the President. Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman, has opened up the petition to the public for 45 days.
What is the state’s opinion of the legislation?
Many of the State Attorneys general he is speaking to are already backing Trump’s push to ban social media companies from having the flexibility to limit content on their platforms. They want social media sites to be completely free. For that to happen, they argue that all the participants have to understand the rules of the forum and their needs if the censorship by one site is going too far as to restrict the freedom of speech of the people who are using it.
A group that is backing the biggest Internet companies in the world, including Amazon, Facebook, Google, has already urged the Federal Communications Commission to reject the petition on the basis that it is completely misguided and breaking the law. They are also concerned that this legislation, if it comes into practice, will raise serious public policy concerns because social media companies are private organizations, and forcing them to allow content that can jeopardize the companies can be unlawful.
Meanwhile, Twitter is continuing to tag fraudulent or misguiding tweets so that their users can understand if anything has been doctored or moderated. Several of Donald trump’s tweets have been branded with manipulation tag which is not sitting well with the President and prompting him to take direct actions.