A new actor is now interfering in the dispute between Twitter and US President Donald Trump. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) interest group has sued the US president. The accusation is that Trump’s decree of Thursday, which should regulate social media more, violates freedom of speech and thus the first additional article of the constitution. The CDT is financially supported by large tech companies, including Google and Facebook, but also by the right-wing think tank “Personal-Financial.com Research Center”.
Trump’s decision provides for paragraph 230 of the US Telecommunications Act to soften, thereby making social media liable for the content of posts. Paragraph 230 had previously protected online services from this. The US President is thus primarily targeting the short message service Twitter, which previously subjected Trump’s tweets to a fact check and labeled them accordingly.
Trump then accused the online service of censorship – and followed up with the decree. Twitter subjected hundreds of other tweets to a fact check on Thursday. The online service identified a tweet about the protests in Minneapolis as glorifying violence.
Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg has also gotten between the fronts. Last week, he said that social media and his company should not become the “arbiter of truth”. Twitter chief Dorsey countered that Twitter would continue to point out if incorrect or controversial information circulated about online service elections. That doesn’t make them “arbitrators of truth”. Zuckerberg is now also criticized by his employees for his reluctance. Numerous Facebook employees had gone on virtual strike, according to the New York Times.
The argument with Twitter is not Trump’s first confrontation with a company, but one of many. Seven examples:
As a mask manufacturer, the 3M group is actually one of the most important US companies in the fight against the pandemic. The export of masks to Canada and Latin America was recently a thorn in the side of Donald Trump. 3M will pay a high price, Trump warned on Twitter. The US government then asked 3M to hold back masks intended for export, citing the War Economy Act. After a few days, both sides agreed on a compromise. 3M is allowed to continue delivering abroad and imports 55.5 million masks per month from its production site in China.
@imago images / ZUMA Press
The car maker General Motors also felt Trump’s anger in March. The US government had negotiated with the company on the production of ventilators. The negotiations were tough, however. “As always with this General Motors, things never seem to succeed,” Trump said on Twitter. Trump then appealed to the War Economy Act and committed GM to building ventilators. At the beginning of April, the Ministry of Health announced a contract with the company for the delivery of 6132 ventilators by June 1. Another 30,000 should follow by the end of August.
@imago images / Laci Perenyi
In order to “protect against foreign enemies”, Trump prohibited US companies in May 2019 from using certain foreign telecommunications technology. Instead, permission from the US government must be obtained. The measure was not officially directed against a specific country or company. Trump was one of the hardest hit with the Chinese tech group Huawei, which has since had to do without parts of its US trading partners such as Google. The US President extended the decree in mid-May. The U.S. Department of Commerce also decided that U.S. chip makers should not supply semiconductors to Huawei if they were based on U.S. technologies. So far, despite the sanctions, Huawei has resorted to US technology for chip manufacture.
@imago images / Manfred Segerer
The feud between Trump and Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has been going on for several years. Bezos is the owner of the Washington Post, which repeatedly reports on Trump. The US President recently accused Bezos of using the newspaper as a lobby organ and giving him the name Jeff Bozo (translated: clown, depp). Conversely, Bezos offered Trump to shoot him into space with one of his spacecraft company Blue Origin’s rockets. In the end, the dispute even ended in court. Amazon accused the Pentagon of deliberately ignoring the company under pressure from Trump on an order. A court in Washington ruled Amazon right and temporarily suspended the order.
@imago images / photothek
The relationship between Trump and the news channel CNN has been shattered. The US President repeatedly referred to the station as “fake news”. When CNN correspondent Jim Acosta refused to deliver the microphone at a White House press conference in November 2018 and touched an intern on the arm, the White House withdrew his accreditation. On November 16, a Washington court ruled that Acosta must get accreditation back. In the corona crisis, Trump also repeatedly shoots CNN reporter Kaitlin Collins. Among other things, he accused her of being a rude person.
@imago images / chrome orange
Originally, the US motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson was one of Trump’s favorites. In June 2018, however, the traditional company got caught in the crossfire in the customs dispute between the US government and the EU. The US punitive tariffs led to higher production costs, which is why Harley Davidson announced that it would move its production abroad. Trump then attacked the company on Twitter and warned the move would be “the beginning of the end.” Harley-Davidson would then be taxed “like never before.” In the meantime, the US President also supported boycott calls from his followers. The partnership with the Chinese company Qingjiang Motorcycle to produce smaller motorcycles for the Asian market also caused criticism at Trump.