Breaking News
Get Actionable Insights with InvestingPro+: Start 7 Day FREE Trial Register here
Investing Pro 0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Exclusive: Trump administration asks court to dismiss Big Tech's challenge to social media executive order

Economy Aug 12, 2020 10:20PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon Apple Facebook and Google 2/2

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration has filed a motion asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit against the president's executive order targeting social media companies, calling it a "profound misunderstanding," according to a copy of the motion seen by Reuters.

The lawsuit was brought in June by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), a Washington-based tech group funded by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc's Google and Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR). It marked the first major legal test of President Donald Trump's directive.

Trump issued an executive order in May against social media companies in an attempt to regulate platforms where he has been criticized, just days after Twitter took the rare step of fact-checking one of his tweets about mail-in voting. Trump threatened to scrap or weaken a law known as Section 230, which protects internet companies from litigation over content posted by users.

The lawsuit by CDT argued Trump's social media executive order violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies, will chill future online speech and reduce the ability of Americans to speak freely online.

The administration argues that the executive order only directs government agencies, and not private companies, to act.

"The EO challenged here imposes no obligations on any private party," said the motion filed by the Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, which was seen by Reuters.

"It directs executive officials to take steps that could lead various agencies to examine ... allegations that large social media online platforms have displayed political bias in moderating content," the motion said.

The lawsuit reflects long-simmering tensions between the Trump administration and social media companies that have become key tools in Trump's political arsenal.

Avery Gardiner, CDT's general counsel, called Trump's executive order "unconstitutional." CDT's lawsuit argues that the White House ran afoul of the First Amendment, which prohibits government officials from retaliating against an individual or entity for engaging in protected speech.

"Instead of actually trying to address the merits of the issues, and to engage in litigation that will show the severe constitutional deformities of the executive order, it is resorting to legal maneuvering," Gardiner said on Wednesday, referring to the Trump administration's move.

The CDT has negotiated a briefing schedule with the DOJ. CDT will be filing its response by the end of August and the government is likely to respond by Sept. 21, she said.

White House spokesman Judd Deere (NYSE:DE) said the administration moved to dismiss the case because "it is not a valid legal argument."

"The left-wing lobbying organization's brief seems to suggest it doesn't understand how administrative action works or possibly that it doesn't understand the nature of the judicial system," he told Reuters on Wednesday.

The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.

Twitter called the executive order a "reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law." It declined comment on the CDT lawsuit. Google and Facebook did not respond to requests for comment.

Trump's order seeks to channel complaints about political bias to the Federal Trade Commission. At a recent Senate hearing, the agency's chairman, Joseph Simons, said the FTC has not taken any action to enforce the order.

The U.S. Commerce Department has petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking new transparency rules in how social media companies moderate content after Trump's executive order directed the action. Earlier this month FCC Chairman Ajit Pai agreed to open the petition to public comment for 45 days.

Exclusive: Trump administration asks court to dismiss Big Tech's challenge to social media executive order
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email