Trump’s social media order violates free speech, claims lawsuit

In one of the first lawsuits challenging the executive order on preventing online censorship signed by US President Donald Trump, a digital rights group has claimed that the order violates the rights to free speech of all online platforms and individuals.

The lawsuit was filed by nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) in the US District Court for the District of Columbia on Tuesday.

CDT said that the executive order which was issued after Twitter added a fact-checking label to one of Trump’s tweets about mail-in voting was “plainly retaliatory”.

The May 28 executive order “violates the first Amendment in two fundamental respects: Frist the order is plainly retaliatory: it attacks a private company, Twitter, for exercising its First Amendment right to comment on the President’s statements,” said the lawsuit.

“Second, and more fundamentally, the Order seeks to curtail and chill the constitutionally protected speech of all online platforms and individuals…,” it added.

Trump’s executive order seeks to blunt Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act which generally protects internet companies from legal liability for user comments.

Section 230 states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Twitter later also flagged Trump’s tweet about protests in the US where he said “when the looting starts the shooting starts.”