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Civil liberties group sues US President Donald Trump for his executive order to regulate social media, alleges the order curbs free speech

Trump's executive order has directed the Federal Communications Commission to make new regulations under section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act that may remove the legal liability shield for social networks that engage in censoring or any political conduct.

A Washington DC-based civil-liberties group has filed a federal lawsuit against US President Donald Trump’s executive order to regulate social media alleging that it violates the first amendment and curbs free speech. The nonprofit organization Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT) has named President Trump as the defendant “in his official capacity as the President of the United States of America”.

The suit has been filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia alleging that Trump’s executive order violates the first amendment by curtailing and chilling the constitutionally protected speech of online platforms and individuals. The lawsuit says that claims the order “seeks to curtail and chill the constitutionally protected speech of all online platforms and individuals.”

Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization with a mission to strengthen individual rights and freedoms by defining, promoting, and influencing technology policy and the architecture of the Internet. Their expertise includes law, technology, and policy. CDT works to preserve the unique nature of the Internet, enhance freedom of expression globally, protect fundamental rights of privacy, and stronger legal controls on government surveillance by finding practical and innovative solutions to public policy challenges while protecting civil liberties.

Trump’s Executive order

Trump’s executive order has directed the Federal Communications Commission to make new regulations under section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which may be resultant in removing the legal liability shield for social networks that engage in censoring or any political conduct.

CDT said that the President’s order said that Trump’s executive order violates the First Amendment as it attacked twitter for putting the fact checks on President Trump’s tweets. CDT affirmed that being a private company that is the right of twitter.

CDT’s CEO Alexandra Givens claimed in an e-mail statement, “The government cannot and should not force online intermediaries into moderating speech according to the president’s whims.”

Donald trump signed the executive order

The censorship of Donald Trump’s tweet came hours after the US President signed an executive order limiting liability protections for social media companies. “I’m signing an executive order to protect and uphold the free speech rights of the American people,” he said. “Currently, social media giants like Twitter receive an unprecedented liability shield based on the theory that they’re a neutral platform, which they’re not.” He also said that if it were legal for him to shut down Twitter, he would do it.

It appears that the Donald Trump versus Twitter feud has reached new heights with neither side in the mood to deescalate. Censorship of conservative opinions on the website has long been a cause for concern and it appears not even the US President is safe from it. It remains to be seen what the future holds and but one thing is clear, we have not yet seen the end of it.

 

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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