Trump wants to dismiss lawsuit targeting social media order

Administration calls CDT lawsuit a “profound misunderstanding”

The Trump administration has filed a motion asking a court to dismiss a lawsuit against an executive order targeting social media companies. According to a copy of the motion, which Reuters saw, the Trump administration has called it a "profound misunderstanding".

In May, President Trump issued an executive order targeting social media companies and Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The order was issued just days after Twitter fact-checked one of the President’s tweets regarding mail-in voting. 

In response to the executive order, the Washington-based tech group Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), which is funded by Facebook, Google and Twitter, filed a lawsuit arguing the executive order violates the First Amendment rights of social media companies and will ultimately hinder free online speech.

The Trump administration, however, says that the executive order isn’t directing private companies to moderate their content.

"The EO challenged here imposes no obligations on any private party," said the motion filed by the Department of Justice in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, which was seen by Reuters.

"It directs executive officials to take steps that could lead various agencies to examine ... allegations that large social media online platforms have displayed political bias in moderating content," the motion claims.

Avery Gardiner, CDT’s general counsel, said of the motion: "Instead of actually trying to address the merits of the issues, and to engage in litigation that will show the severe constitutional deformities of the executive order, it is resorting to legal maneuvering."

Gardiner added that CDT has negotiated a briefing schedule with the Department of Justice and will be filing its response by the end of August. The government will likely respond by September 21, she said.

White House spokesman Judd Deere claims, though, that the Trump administration moved to dismiss the case because “it is not a valid legal argument.”

"The left-wing lobbying organization’s brief seems to suggest it doesn’t understand how administrative action works or possibly that it doesn’t understand the nature of the judicial system," he told Reuters. 

Last month, the US Commerce Department also petitioned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify "when online platforms can claim section 230 protections if they restrict access to content in a manner not specifically outlined under the Act." In response, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai agreed to open the petition to public comment for 45 days.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Leading the data race

The trends driving the future of data science

Download now

How to create 1:1 customer experiences at scale

Meet the technology capable of delivering the personalisation your customers crave

Download now

How to achieve daily SAP releases

Accelerate the pace of SAP change to support your digital strategy

Download now

Recommended

US TikTok and WeChat ban begins on Sunday
Policy & legislation

US TikTok and WeChat ban begins on Sunday

18 Sep 2020
ByteDance says China must approve Oracle's TikTok deal
Acquisition

ByteDance says China must approve Oracle's TikTok deal

17 Sep 2020
Oracle and TikTok deal close, but ByteDance wants majority ownership
mergers and acquisitions

Oracle and TikTok deal close, but ByteDance wants majority ownership

16 Sep 2020
TikTok gets a new competitor, YouTube Shorts
social media

TikTok gets a new competitor, YouTube Shorts

15 Sep 2020

Most Popular

16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

16 Sep 2020
16 ways to speed up your laptop
Laptops

16 ways to speed up your laptop

16 Sep 2020
Windows XP source code allegedly leaked online
Microsoft Windows

Windows XP source code allegedly leaked online

25 Sep 2020