President Donald Trump is set to announce an Executive order against social media companies
According to White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. McEnany did not specify what the order would include,
but it signals the most significant step the President has taken in his war with tech companies as they struggle to balance freedom of speech with the growing problem of misinformation.
On Tuesday, Twitter applied a fact-check to two of Trump’s tweets,
including one that falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud.
Trump immediately shot back,
Accusing the social media giant of censorship and warning that if it continued to offer addendums to his messages,
he would use the power of the federal government to rein it in or even shut it down.
It is not clear what constraints the President would be able to apply to social media companies through executive order. Regardless, the move raises the stakes in Trump’s battle with Silicon Valley,
and highlights what he believes is a fight worth having.
In many ways, the latest episode with Twitter feeds Trump’s narrative that there are powerful forces in the media aligned against him,
and that his is the only voice his supporters can trust. “This plays right into President Trump’s hands,” said Jason Miller,
the communications director for Trump’s 2016 campaign and someone who has been directly involved with Trump’s social media strategy. “They basically handed him a massive gift.”
Many of Trump’s political allies rushed to his defense on Wednesday.
“Twitter is engaging in 2020 election interference. They are putting their thumb on the scale,” said Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz,
a loyal Trump supporter and surrogate during an appearance on the Steve Bannon-produced podcast War Room Pandemic. “The notion that they would outsource fact-checking to people who have been wrong about everything is an insult.”
Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said that his team no longer pays for advertising on Twitter and accused the tech giant of purposefully influencing the election to hurt the President.