NEW YORK—One day after threatening to “strongly regulate, or close down” social media platforms, President Trump is expected to sign a related executive order today. A draft of the order was circulated after Twitter, following company policy, added a fact-checking label to one of the president’s tweets.
The following response can be attributed to Jameel Jaffer, Executive Director at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“This order is an effort to intimidate technology companies from using tools that are indispensable to protecting the integrity of public discourse online. The order was born unconstitutional because it was issued in retaliation for Twitter’s fact-checking of President Trump’s tweets. Some of its provisions raise additional constitutional concerns, since they seem to contemplate that the government will investigate and punish internet service providers for decisions that are protected by the First Amendment. There may well be regulation and legislation worth considering in this sphere, but whatever else this order may be, it is not a good faith effort to protect free speech online.”
The following can be attributed to Katie Fallow, Senior Staff Attorney at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University.
“If the president were really interested in protecting free speech in public forums, he’d stop his practice of censoring critics from his Twitter account—a practice that a federal appeals court has already held to be unconstitutional.”
In July of last year, a federal appeals court held in a lawsuit brought by the Knight First Amendment Institute that the president violated the First Amendment when he blocked critics from his @realDonaldTrump Twitter account. The court denied rehearing en banc in March. The government has until the end of August to seek cert in the Supreme Court. More on this case here.
For more information, contact: Lorraine Kenny, Communications Director, Knight First Amendment Institute, [email protected].