Free speech: Nonprofit sues Trump over order aimed at social media

The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s executive order cracking down on the social media. The order was in response to Twitter’s adding two fact-check labels to Trump’s tweets and restricting a post it felt supported violence. In the order Trump asked regulators to reduce legal protections for the social media from liability for content on their platforms. (The New York Times, June 2, 2020, by Kate Conger)

In suing, the CDT noted that the order came after Twitter regulated Trump’s tweets and was “plainly retaliatory.” The lawsuit says the order will discourage future online speech and violate the First Amendment rights of the social media. (Reuters, June 2, 2020, by Alison Frankel and Nandita Bose)

Law professor Tim Wu, The New York Times, June 2, 2020, reminds us that Trump should have no power in regulating the social media for statements they made in defense of their rules of operation. “It is crucial,” writes Wu, “to stand up to this kind of bullying. For the sake of what remains of America’s constitutional order, Mr. Trump’s executive order must be regarded by all law-abiding parties as null and void — as ‘no law at all,’ as the legal maxim goes. To act otherwise, to give it one iota of influence, is to grant the president an alarming authority he is not supposed to have: to use the power of the state against speech with which he disagrees.”

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