Trump threatened Facebook, Twitter again after they throttled the spread of story about Hunter Biden
- Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday limited the spread of a dubious New York Post story about Hunter Biden.
- President Trump tweeted it was "so terrible" that the platforms "took down the story," which they did not do.
- He threatened the companies, saying "it is only the beginning for them," as he called again for the repeal of Section 230, the part of US law that lets tech platforms moderate their own content.
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US President Donald Trump was outraged on Wednesday when Facebook and Twitter decided to limit the spread of a dubious New York Post story about Hunter Biden, son of presidential candidate Joe Biden.
"So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of 'Smoking Gun' emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost," Trump tweeted Wednesday.
Neither Facebook nor Twitter took down the New York Post article.
Facebook spokesman Andy Stone said Wednesday the platform was "reducing its distribution" of the story while it gave its third-party fact-checkers time to look over the piece. The article appeared to be riddled with holes and red flags.
Twitter blocked users from tweeting links to the story, and a spokesman said this was because the article broke its "Hacked Materials Policy." Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey later said the platform's communication about its actions "was not great" and that blocking users from sharing the articles without any context was "unacceptable."
Trump added a threat to the tech platforms in his tweet, saying: "It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!!"
So terrible that Facebook and Twitter took down the story of â€œSmoking Gunâ€ emails related to Sleepy Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in the @NYPost. It is only the beginning for them. There is nothing worse than a corrupt politician. REPEAL SECTION 230!!! https://t.co/g1RJFpIVUZ— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2020
Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 is a part of US law that gives tech companies broad protections to let them moderate their own platforms. It also protects them from liability for the content posted by users.
This isn't the first time Trump has attacked Section 230. He signed an executive order in May threatening to roll back these protections, two days after Twitter added fact-checking labels to two of his tweets.
Although legal experts at the time told Business Insider that Trump's order is likely illegal, and it has faced two legal challenges on the grounds it breaks the First Amendment, Trump has been trying to push it through.
In September, he nominated a new commissioner for the Federal Communications Commission to replace Republican Mike O'Rielly, who has expressed opposition to the order.
Attorney General William Barr announced during a White House event on September 23 that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had submitted legislation to Congress that would alter Section 230. Barr said the proposed reforms would address "concerns about online censorship by requiring greater transparency and accountability when platforms remove lawful speech."
At the same White House event, Trump said his goal was to protect American citizens from "censorship, cancel culture, and consumer abuses inflicted by big tech companies."
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