Trump says he wants to shut down Twitter, signs order to crack down on social media
- US President Donald Trump said Thursday that he would shut down Twitter if his lawyers could find a way to do it.
- The president's comments came as he signed an executive order seeking to crack down on Twitter and other social-media companies over allegations of censorship and bias against conservatives.
- After Trump signed the order, in which he emphasized his "commitment to free and open debate on the internet," Trump said of Twitter, "I think we shut it down, as far as I'm concerned, but I'd have to go through a legal process. If it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it."
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US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that he would shut down Twitter if his lawyers could find a way to do it.
"I think we shut it down, as far as I'm concerned, but I'd have to go through a legal process," the president told reporters. "If it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it."
Trump's comments came shortly after he signed an executive order seeking to crack down on Twitter and other social-media companies over allegations of bias and censorship targeting conservatives.
Trump signed the order two days after Twitter added fact-checking links - the first of their kind - to two of his tweets pushing false claims about voting by mail.
According to a leaked draft of the document, Trump emphasised his "commitment to free and open debate on the Internet."
"Such debate is just as important online as it is in our universities, our businesses, our newspapers, and our homes," the draft said. "In a country that has long cherished the freedom of expression, we cannot allow a limited number of online platforms to hand-pick the speech that Americans may access and convey online."
When he was asked Thursday whether he would delete his Twitter account, Trump said, "If we had a fair press in this country, I would do that in a heartbeat." He added that his social-media presence allowed him to reach more people.
The president doubled down on his allegations of bias this week after Twitter fact-checked his tweets claiming that mail-in ballots in California are "substantially fraudulent" and will result in a "Rigged Election."
Twitter's alert linked to a "Moments" page titled "Trump makes unsubstantiated claim that mail-in ballots will lead to voter fraud" that listed a series of facts contradicting his claims.
It pointed to the dearth of evidence supporting the claim that mail-in ballots are linked to voter fraud and noted that only registered voters could receive ballots and multiple states other than California use mail-in ballots.
Trump accused the social-media platform of "interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election" and said he wouldn't allow Twitter to stifle free speech.
Twitter later elaborated on its decision to fact-check the president's tweets, saying it added the labels as "part of our efforts to enforce our civic integrity policy."
"We believe those Tweets could confuse voters about what they need to do to receive a ballot and participate in the election process," Twitter said.
Despite the president's threats, First Amendment experts say he does not have the power to regulate or shut down social-media companies because he disagrees with them.
Tech policy experts echoed that assessment, telling Business Insider that parts of the executive order are not legal at all, while other sections would require agencies to throw out years of judicial precedent.
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