White House drafts order to probe Facebook, Google business practices

The White House has drafted an executive order for President Donald Trump that would instruct law enforcement agencies to initiate probe into business practices of Facebook, Google, Twitter and other social media platforms. According to a Bloomberg report, the draft is still in a nascent stage and hasn’t been run past other government agencies.

White House drafts order to probe Facebook, Google business practices

The draft order instructs anti-trust authorities in the United States to thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of anti-trust laws, the report said. The document also instructs other government agencies to recommend actions within a month to protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.

The draft order directs federal agencies to take actions in line with the existing laws. This might amount to acknowledging concerns that the draft order could be in conflict with the First Amendment or threaten the traditional independence of US law enforcement, the report said

While the order does not name any specific company, it will establish Trump’s hostility towards social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and such, whom he had openly accused of curbing conservative opinions and news sources online.

Social media companies have maintained in the past that there are no conscious efforts to silence conservative voices online, but political figures from both left and right factions have been wrongly penalised in their efforts to enforce prohibitions against online harassment.

The draft executive order came to light when Attorney General Jeff Sessions was preparing for a meeting with state attorney generals who were already looking into the tech companies’ business practices. This meeting on September 25 will help Sessions assess if there is a federal case to be made against the companies, the Bloomberg report said while quoting two individuals familiar with the matter

source: businesstoday

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