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Rep. Matt Gaetz said Thursday he will be filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission alleging social media giant Twitter is interfering in the 2020 elections by unfairly targeting and censoring President Donald Trump.
In an interview with Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, the Florida Republican defended an executive order signed by the president earlier in the day in which he called for a review “of the legal immunities which shield” Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter “from content posted on their sites.”
Specifically, the president’s order deals with Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a 1996 law passed early in the ‘Internet era’ in which the social media behemoths use to protect themselves from liability for what gets posted on their sites. The law was a response to a pair of lawsuits filed against Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the early 1990s over whether they should be viewed as publishers or platforms for content created by users.
While Section 230 provides the platforms with broad protections, it does require them to remove criminal content such as copyright infringement.
But Trump and his defenders maintain that by censoring content and ‘fact-checking’ posts, as Twitter did with a pair of the president’s tweets earlier this week regarding mail-in ballot fraud, the social media platforms are acting as publishers and therefore can be regulated.
As for Gaetz, however, he is taking it a step further: Censoring the president or fact-checking his statements amounts to illegal election meddling.
(Source: Fox News)
“If we just wait around, big tech will steal this election from Donald Trump and the from the American people, American people,” the GOP lawmaker said.
“In 2016 we won three Rust Belt states by a point each and that’s when no one thought Donald Trump could win,” Gaetz continued. “We have to be as aggressive as they are. That means bills like Sen. [Josh] Hawley [R-Mo.] and I have filed to change Section 230 so as to out then as publishers, not the unbiased platform they are. It means an executive order but it also means getting the other elements of the government to enforce existing law.
“The federal election commission needs to get off their duff,” Gaetz continued.
Earlier this week Twitter fact-checked a post by President Trump — the first time the platform has ever done that to any user — in which he asserted that California-style mail-in balloting extended nationwide, as Democrats want, would lead to rampant, widespread vote fraud.
The platform inserted a link in the president’s tweets telling users, “Get the facts about mail-in ballots.” The link takes users to a page where Twitter says Trump made an “unsubstantiated claim” about mail-in vote fraud, adding that the platform relied on CNN and the Washington Post — two outlets that have regularly published false reports about the administration and ‘Russian collusion’ — to debunk the president.
In fact, mail-in vote fraud has been well-documented by the Heritage Foundation, among other groups.
As for Twitter, the platform also censored President Trump early Friday for a tweet he wrote regarding the ongoing rioting in Minnesota, claiming it violated ‘community rules.’
Gaetz said the FEC must act against the platform for its attempts to silence and challenge the president.
“We have domestic election interference going on right now and I will be filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission … because of what they’ve done to President Trump. As a voter, I have the standing to do it and President Trump should call for a decision on the Federal Election Commission questions that are before them so that these tech companies get flushed out of the bushes.”
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