Is Donald Trump the man to rein in social media? Given that he seems to operate largely via Twitter this is a strange prospect – but the Donald is threatening Twitter with an un-specified ‘executive order” after it placed a hazard fact check recommendation on his recent tweets.
He wasn’t pleased:
….Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2020
Good for Twitter you might say but, from its point of view, it’s a rather dangerous genie to allow out of the bottle.
Twitter and its bigger social peers like Facebook and Google have been in the sights of many legislators and others for years but their ultimate defence is their popularity and the notion of free speech (as well as their money.)
Appearing to censor – sort of – the US President is hardly a wise move. This supposed executive order from Trump may just kick start the kind of wider-ranging investigation such media owners have been determinedly resisting.
The executive order launches an investigation into whether or not social media should continue to be immune from legal challenge over its content. In other words, as many publishers maintain, are they media owners or “platforms,” as they insist. Platforms, of course, are much more profitable: they steal and re-market other people’s content – for free.