President Donald Trump’s order targeting social media companies was challenged in court by a non-profit group that claims the edict violates free-speech protections guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Trump’s order, issued on Thursday, might undermine the legal protections enjoyed by social media companies including Twitter and Facebook. He asked federal regulators to look at provisions, contained in Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, that insulate the companies from liability for content posted by users.
The order followed on the heels of Twitter’s decision to add fact-check labels to two of Trump’s tweets. Twitter also restricted a post by the president suggesting that protesters who engaged in looting would be met with violence. Legal observers have said Trump lacks the power to modify Section 230 by executive order.
The Center for Democracy and Technology sued in Washington federal court Tuesday, claiming the order is an unconstitutional retaliation against Twitter and that it seeks to discourage other companies and individuals from disagreeing with the government.
The case is Center for Democracy and Technology v. Trump, 20-cv-01456, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).
Conservatives flock to a free speech social media app — which has started banning liberal users – NBC News
Last week, Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, both announced on Twitter that they were moving to a new social media platform.
“I’m proud to join @parler_app — a platform gets what free speech is all about — and I’m excited to be a part of it,” Cruz tweeted.
Many others followed suit. Parler, founded in August 2018, touts itself as an “unbiased” social media platform focused on “real user experiences and engagement.” In recent weeks, it has become a destination for conservatives who have voiced their disapproval of how mainstream platforms such as Facebook and Twitter moderate content.
But as with every other platform on the internet, Parler’s free speech stance goes only so far. The platform has been banning many people who joined and trolled conservatives.
“Pretty much all of my leftist friends joined Parler to screw with MAGA folks, and every last one of them was banned in less than 24 hours because conservatives truly love free speech,” a user wrote on Twitter.
Writer and comedian Tony Posnanski also received a ban from the app. “Free speech my a–! I literally said less than here and I got banned,” he tweeted.
John Matze, the founder and CEO of Parler, said Thursday in an interview with CNBC that the company remains firm in its promise that it supports free speech.
“Our general premise is that we believe in the good of the American people as a whole and that people should be able to have these discussions,” he said. “People don’t want to be told what to think. People don’t want to be told what to say anymore.”
Parler did not respond to a request for comment.
The move to Parler by conservatives comes as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms remain under pressure from Republicans over how they decide to remove content posted by users. Conservatives for years have claimed that they are unfairly silenced on the platforms, although many Republican politicians and pundits enjoy large audiences on them.
The pressure has increased in recent weeks since Twitter labeled multiple tweets from President Donald Trump as misleading and Snap, the owner of Snapchat, announced that it will stop promoting Trump’s content. Facebook, which did not take similar action, has faced both a major advertiser boycott over how it handles hate speech and unrest from employees over how it handled Trump’s statements.
Republicans have countered by pushing legislation to curtail the tech industry’s legal protections, coupled with an executive order from Trump.
Parler is not the first alternative platform to try to capitalize on displeasure with the major platforms. Its user experience is similar to that of Twitter and other microblogging websites. Users can make posts on the platform and receive likes, comments and shares.
Some people who joined the platform described it as a conservative version of Twitter. Rees Paz, who calls himself a left-leaning centrist in his Twitter bio, tweeted that all of the users recommended for him on the app were conservative figures, from Trump’s son Eric to Laura Loomer, a conservative activist who was previously banned from Twitter.
But even some conservatives find fault with the platform, which, in addition to stating that it is a free speech haven, promises to “never [share] your personal data.”
For people who choose to join the app’s “influencer network,” the company may ask for information “such as your Social Security number (SSN) or your tax identification number.”
Some users have been dissatisfied with the company’s efforts to protect their privacy.
Mindy Robinson, a conservative political commentator, criticized Cruz for endorsing the app.
“The minute it asked for a copy of my driver’s license to access normal features Twitter already has … I knew something was seriously wrong with Parler,” Robinson wrote.
She then clarified that she was not able to send a direct message on the app without providing a photo of her driver’s license.
Another user wrote: “I signed up prior to it requiring a phone number. It hasn’t asked me to provide it yet. The moment it does I’m out.”
In his CNBC interview, Matze defended Parler’s policy on phone numbers and identification, saying people say “nasty things” online because they can stay anonymous.
“On Parler, people get verified, people have phone numbers related to their accounts. People know they’re acting and behaving as they would in a town square,” he said.
“We are a town square, not a publication,” Matze added. “I think people will come around to this idea more and more — society can solve these problems without regulation of the social media platforms.”
Council approves social media policy for Wellington North Fire Service – Wellington Advertiser
WELLINGTON NORTH – Township council has approved a social media policy for the Wellington North Fire Service.
A staff report provided to council at the June 22 meeting indicates the Wellington North Fire Services (WNFS) has developed a policy to ensure uniform usage of social media sites across the department.
This policy aims to ensure that all social media content representing the fire service “is created in a professional and consistent manner that faithfully represents both our mission statement and department values.”
The report notes the WNFS online presence helps inform the public about the happenings within the department and provides an opportunity for educating the public about fire safety and about emergency preparedness.
It also facilitates keeping the public informed during emergency events.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said councillor Steve McCabe.
“I think it’s going to be a huge advantage for our residents to see what our fire chief is up to.
“I know I’ve had a few questions about the transition from our previous fire chief to what we’re doing now so I think this will alleviate a lot of questions … I think it’s great to be open and transparent.”
Wellington North recently entered into an agreement to share a director of fire services and fire service management team with the Town of Minto.
“This platform, I trust, is similar to what you’ve got in Minto?” councillor Sherry Burke asked director of fire services Chris Harrow.
“I follow you folks on twitter … it looks like you’re suggesting it would be the same type of thing and that same type of information would be put out there?”
“Absolutely,” replied Harrow, adding, “It would be obviously tailored to Wellington North residents.”
Harrow explained information such as weather alerts and emergency situations could be shared with residents through WNFS accounts on platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
“We find it very effective to be able to get information out there in an emergency, not only for roads, but for weather, traffic…” Harrow stated.
Councillor Lisa Hern stated, “I was actually excited to have a social media policy. It was one of the things before that I thought we were a little lacking.”
Harrow pointed out social media can also be used as an effective recruitment took.
“We can show everybody how Wellington North Fire service is a great fire service,” said Harrow.
“You will probably see us launch recruitment drive tools with it very shortly.”
Hill Movers: Power joins Bains' office as senior comms and media relations advisor – iPolitics.ca
John Power is backing working for the federal Liberal government.
After a roughly seven-month move to consultant work, he joined Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains‘ office in June as a senior advisor for communications and media relations.
LAST WEEK: Perreault bids adieu to federal politics
“In the role I am advising the Minister on media relations and broader communications matters, working under Vanessa Hage-Moussa our Director of Communications,” Power told iPolitics via email.
Power was most recently working as a principal for Ottawa’s Tactix Government Relations and Public Affairs, a role he started last December, according to his LinkedIn.
He moved back to GR after five years working for the feds, including spending most of 2019 as an issues management advisor for the Prime Minister’s Office.
Prior to that, Power spent six months or so as a senior communications advisor and issues manager for the Minister of Intergovernmental and Northern Affairs and Internal Trade. And before that, he spent a year and a half at the office of National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier.
In Lebouthillier’s office, Power rose from special assistant for Ontario to press secretary and issues manager to, finally, senior communications advisor and issues manager.
He’s quite familiar with the Hill, getting his start as a summer student with the House of Commons in 2012. After graduating from McGill in 2013, Power had a brief spell as a researcher for Tactix before joining pharma giant Bristol-Myers Squibb.
He left that company in 2015 to work as a French-language media monitor for the federal Liberals for the 2015 election campaign. After that vote, he joined the Office of the Chief Government Whip as a committee Analyst, a role he held until April 2017.
In other staffing changes this past spring, Mitchell Goldie became a special assistant with the Liberal Research Bureau, Kaitlin Salole moved up to become Liberal MP Mark Gerretsen‘s legislative assistant and Paul Kaiser joined Liberal MP Francis Scarpaleggia‘s office as a special assistant.
Please send your tips about people on the move to [email protected].
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