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Trump threatens social media with regulation, plans executive order

US President Donald Trump threatened to impose regulations on social media platforms on Wednesday and is planning to sign an executive order related to social media on Thursday.

Washington, 28 May 2020 (dpa/MIA) — US President Donald Trump threatened to impose regulations on social media platforms on Wednesday and is planning to sign an executive order related to social media on Thursday.

The president’s ire with social media companies has been focused on his favourite platform, Twitter, which this week added a fact-check label to Trump’s tweets, widely deemed to have been a false claim, about fraud in mail-in ballots.

“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,” said Trump in a tweet.

Later on Wednesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump will sign an executive order “pertaining to social media” without providing any specifics.

It is unclear what exactly Trump will aim to do, or if the president has an executive authority to regulate the companies under current laws.

Late on Wednesday, Twitter CEO and founder Jack Dorsey indirectly responded to the president, saying that the company would continue to point out “incorrect or disputed information about elections globally.”

“This does not make us an “arbiter of truth,” Dorsey tweeted. “Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions.”

Twitter’s fact check of the president represented a major policy change for the company and a major push back against falsehoods spread by the president ahead of the November elections.

Twitter told people to “get the facts” about voting by mail and provided links to news outlets often at odds with the president.

The president has also recently been pushing a conspiracy theory that a television show host who was once a lawmaker killed an assistant during the lawmaker’s time in office.

The family of the woman, who died of natural causes, asked Twitter to remove the posts, but the California-based company declined.

There has been backlash for a number of years in conservative circles, in particular against some of the social media giants, accusing them of a liberal bias. Some research has indicated the opposite may at times be the case.

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