Facebook, Twitter Respond to Trump’s Social Media Order: It ‘Will Restrict More Speech Online, Not Less’

Twitter calls Trump’s executive order targeting social media companies “reactionary and politicized”

Donald Trump
Doug Mills / The New York Times / Getty Images

Hours after President Donald Trump signed an executive order seeking to curtail legal protections for social media platforms, Facebook decried the order as having the “opposite effect” of “protecting freedom of expression” while Twitter called it “reactionary and politicized.”

“Facebook is a platform for diverse views. We believe in protecting freedom of expression on our services, while protecting our community from harmful content including content designed to stop voters from exercising their right to vote. Those rules apply to everybody. Repealing or limiting section 230 will have the opposite effect,” the company said in a statement. “It will restrict more speech online, not less. By exposing companies to potential liability for everything that billions of people around the world say, this would penalize companies that choose to allow controversial speech and encourage platforms to censor anything that might offend anyone.”

Twitter, from their Global Public Policy team’s Twitter account, responded by saying, “This EO is a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law. #Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values. Attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.”

The executive order asks the Commerce Department to request the Federal Communications Commission to review Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which currently is interpreted to protect platforms like Google, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter from being sued over the content that their users post to their respective platforms.

Trump’s order comes two days after Twitter placed a fact-check on two of the president’s false tweets about mail-in ballots. In an interview with Fox News, taped before the executive order was signed, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said he disagreed with Twitter’s action and said Facebook shouldn’t be an “arbiter of truth,” but said he didn’t believe it was the “right reflex” for a government to “censor a platform because they’re worried about censorship.”