President Trump threatened social media companies with regulation measures and to even shut them down after Twitter flagged two of the president's tweets with its fact-check warning for the first time this week.
The fact-checking label, which can be seen below, attached a link that leads users to "Get the facts" and discredits President Trump's message about mail-in voting fraud. In response, the President issued what reads like a warning to social media companies, sharing that there will be, "big action to follow."
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"We will strongly regulate, or close them down," the president tweeted, referring to the platforms he feels are "completely stifling" free speech.
Republicans feel that Social Media Platforms totally silence conservatives voices. We will strongly regulate, or close them down, before we can ever allow this to happen. We saw what they attempted to do, and failed, in 2016. We can’t let a more sophisticated version of that....May 27, 2020
We could get a better idea of what that means tomorrow (May 28). That's when the president is planning to issue an executive order "pertaining to social media," according to the White House press secretary. There are no details yet on what that actually means.
Twitter has beefed up its fact-checking policies in recent months to battle the distribution of false and potentially dangerous information during the ongoing global pandemic. But until this week it has yet to use the fact-checking flag, which adds an exclamation point and link out to fact-checked information, on the president's account.
There is NO WAY (ZERO!) that Mail-In Ballots will be anything less than substantially fraudulent. Mail boxes will be robbed, ballots will be forged & even illegally printed out & fraudulently signed. The Governor of California is sending Ballots to millions of people, anyone.....May 26, 2020
Trump's relationship with Twitter is somewhat of a conundrum — the president relies on the site to communicate series of short-hand messages, though the platform has had to adapt for use as a political podium. It introduced flags for offensive tweets from politicians in June 2019, and was intwined in judicial rulings regarding Trump blocking critical accounts the same summer.
Going off precedent in this cases (and a basic understanding of communications law,) social media platforms are usually protected from regulation by free speech.
Each social media company has its own community guidelines that users subscribe to when making an account, and although several have stepped up their responsibility in monitoring the spread of false information or "fake news," all are considered open platforms for sharing thoughts.
As such, we would likely be looking at a First Amendment case if the President acted to impose mandatory regulations, or even "close down" some of these sites.
A spokesperson from Twitter told CBS News that the site "may use these labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a Tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content."