by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Facebook and some members of the Federal Communications Commission appear to be helping President Trump in his war against Twitter, as he pushes for unfettered speech and less content moderation online.
Yet tech industry experts say that Trump’s fight to revoke a law that protects websites from being held liable for content posted on their platforms could backfire on him and cause more censorship and content moderation, not less.
“Facebook and the FCC are helping Trump make his argument. At the moment, they’re overlapping on this,” said Joshua Tucker, a professor of politics and co-director of the Center for Social Media and Politics at New York University.
Twitter, for the first time last week, decided to place fact-checking and warning labels on a few of Trump’s tweets, setting off a political firestorm. The Trump campaign said the move showed “clear political bias” by the tech giant, and Trump signed an executive order last week to combat what he described as unfair censorship.
Twitter’s social media rival Facebook has taken a very different approach to Trump’s content, despite having similar content moderation policies as Twitter. Facebook has not applied any of its standard fact-checking labels to Trump’s posts, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg implied Twitter’s decision to fact-check the president was wrong. Zuckerberg said Facebook does not want to be an “arbiter of truth.”
A Twitter spokeswoman pointed the Washington Examiner to a Twitter thread posted earlier this week to explain its rationale for labeling Trump’s tweets.
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr, a Republican, said that Facebook and Twitter have arrived at a “fork in the road” on content moderation and are headed in opposite directions. …
… Some tech industry experts see Facebook’s decision as politically and financially motivated, though.