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Trump plans executive order targeting social media after Twitter fact-check spat

After threatening to regulate or even shut down social media networks, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order on social media, the White House said. What that exactly means, however, remains unclear.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that the executive order would come on Thursday, but provided no additional details.

On the flight back to Washington, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters President Trump is going to sign some kind of executive order on social media. No further details appear to have been offered, but it comes after he lashed out over fact checks on his tweets.

— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) May 27, 2020

The push for an executive order follows Twitter’s decision to include a fact check of Trump’s tweet Tuesday, where he falsely claimed mail-in ballots would lead to widespread voter fraud.

The president, in typical fashion, tweeted Wednesday morning that he plans to shut down social media platforms — though it is unclear what type of authority Trump has to “strongly regulate” sites like Twitter and Facebook, which he claims to have silenced “conservative voices.”

It is important to note that not even the president of the United States has the authority to shut down a company operating within the country. Since 2016, fierce debate over social media’s role in provoking divisive politics, incessant trolling, election interference, and proliferating misinformation campaigns has only intensified. These are all issues Trump has capitalized on it during his political rallies and rambling press conferences.

Within the last 24 hours, Trump has specifically targeted Twitter for prefacing his tweet with a fact-check warning. Twitter has long taken a hands-off approach to dealing with the oftentimes false, conspiratorial, and threatening rhetoric the president presented to millions of his followers. Trump has also gone after Facebook and threatened that the government would sue over its “terrible bias.”

Other Republican lawmakers have been critical of the tech giants, and have actively searched for ways to rein them in. Many of Trump’s supporters quickly jumped to his side Tuesday night, following Twitter’s decision to add a fact-checking label Trump’s statements.

Digital Trends reached out to the White House for more clarification on Trump’s intent, and we’ll update this story when we hear back.

Digital Trends also reached out to Facebook for comment, but did not receive a reply. Twitter declined to comment.

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Meira Gebel
Meira Gebel is a freelance reporter based in Portland. She writes about tech, social media, and internet culture for Digital…
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