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Trump to take ‘big action’ against social media

AFP

US President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order redefining the legal protections given to social media platforms.

It means platforms such as Facebook and Twitter could be sued if they are judged to “deceptively” block posts. The draft of the executive order says social networks are engaged in “selective censorship”.

On Wednesday, Mr Trump accused Twitter of election interference, after it added fact-check links to two of his tweets.

The order sets out to clarify the Communications Decency Act, a US law that offers online platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube legal protection in certain situations.

Under Section 230 of the law, social networks are not generally held responsible for content posted by their users but can engage in “good-Samaritan blocking”, such as removing content that is obscene, harassing or violent.

And the draft of the executive order points out this legal immunity does not apply if a social network edits content posted by its users.

It also says “deceptive” blocking of posts, including removing a post for reasons other than those described in a website’s terms of service, should not be offered immunity.

In an interview with Fox News on Wednesday, Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, said censoring a social media platform would not be the “right reflex” for a government concerned about censorship.

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