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Center for Democracy and Technology challenges Trump social media executive order

The Center for Democracy and Technology filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order seeking to limit legal protections of social media companies that censure or edit user posts. Pool Photo by Doug Mills/UPI
The Center for Democracy and Technology filed a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's executive order seeking to limit legal protections of social media companies that censure or edit user posts. Pool Photo by Doug Mills/UPI | License Photo

June 2 (UPI) -- The Center for Democracy and Technology on Tuesday filed a lawsuit challenging an executive order by President Donald Trump seeking to limit legal protections of social media companies that censure or edit user posts.

CDT, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, challenged the order stating that it violates the First Amendment by "curtailing and chilling" the speech of online platforms and individuals as protected by the Constitution.

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"The executive order is designed to deter social media services from fighting misinformation, voter suppression and the stoking of violence on their platforms," CDT President and CEO Alexandra Givens said.

Trump signed the order on Thursday directing the Commerce Department to ask the Federal Communications Commission to reinterpret Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which protects Internet companies from lawsuits targeting the content of their sites.

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"A small handful of social media monopolies controls the vast portion of all public and private communications in the United States," said Trump. "They've had unchecked power to censor, restrict, edit, shape, hide, alter, virtually any form of communication between private citizens and large public audiences."

The decision came two days after Twitter flagged a pair of Trump's tweets about the process of mail-in voting as potentially misleading.

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CDT said the order was intended to intimidate social media companies to change how they moderate content.

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"The government cannot and should not force online intermediaries into moderating speech according to the President's whims," Givens said. "Blocking this order is crucial for protecting freedom of speech and continuing important work to ensure the integrity of the 2020 election."

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