US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to regulate social media companies.
This development is coming a day after the US president threatened to shut down social media.
On Tuesday, Trump had tweeted that mail-in ballots were fraudulent but the claim was fact checked by Twitter — an action which peeved the US president.
Twitter put a warning on Trump’s tweet: “Get the facts about mail-in ballots,” and redirected users to news articles about the president’s unproven claim.
Addressing journalists at the oval office where he signed the executive order on Thursday, Trump said his action seeks to “defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history.”
He said his administration would check powers of social media companies to censor opinions and views of Americans.
“We are here today to defend free speech from one of the greatest dangers,” he said.
“A small handful of social media monopolies controls a vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States.
“They have had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences.
“I guess it is going to be challenged in court, but what isn’t?”
Trump’s order targets a US law known as the communications decency act, where section 230 grants liability protections to social media companies, as well as immunity to websites that curate and moderate their platforms.
The draft order describes US as a country with age-long affinity for freedom of expression, adding that censorship against speeeches of Americans is “dangerous.”
“In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online,” it read.
“This practice is fundamentally un-American and anti-democratic. When large, powerful social media companies censor opinions with which they disagree, they exercise a dangerous power.”