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Trump’s order to curtail power of social media giants faces legal challenge

Legal Insider: “Mayer Brown has filed a lawsuit against President Donald Trump on behalf of non-profit digital rights group Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), alleging that his recent executive order to curtail the protection of social media giants such as Twitter violates the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech. The lawsuit alleges that President Trump’s executive order violates the First Amendment because it is “plainly retaliatory” and attacks a private company – Twitter – for exercising its right to comment on the President’s statements. The order was brought after Twitter added a fact-checking label to two of @realDonaldTrump’s tweets about California’s vote-by-mail plans to show where they could get ‘the facts’ – saying they believe the Tweets could confuse voters. The lawsuit also alleges that the order breaches the First Amendment by seeking to “curtail and chill the constitutionally protected speech of all online platforms and individuals by demonstrating the willingness to use government authority to retaliate against those who criticise the government.” The order expressly names online content giants Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. CDT is an organisation that promotes and protects free expression on the internet. It cites cases including New York Times Co. v Sullivan, which states that “The right of citizens to inquire, to speak and to use information to reach consensus is a precondition to enlightened self-government and a necessary means to protect it.” The First Amendment prohibits government officials from using their power to retaliate against an individual or entity for engaging in free speech or take steps to chill free speech. It also bars the government from trying to censor lawful speech through threat of liability or reprisal. The claim alleges that the executive order violates all of these…”

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