• Press Release

New Executive Order targeting social platforms is dangerous and irresponsible

May 28, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump, with Attorney General William Barr, speaks in the Oval Office before signing an executive order related to regulating social media
Doug MIlls-Pool/Getty Images
Responding to an executive order by United States President Donald J. Trump designating that social media companies are shielded from liability for user-generated content, Michael Kleinman, the director of the Silicon Valley Initiative at Amnesty International USA said:

“Everyone should have access to information, especially during a pandemic, where correct information can mean the difference between life and death for so many. Over 100,000 people in this country have already died as this administration continues to mishandle the crisis. Not one more person should die because they aren’t receiving the correct information in the midst of a global emergency.

“Threats and retaliation against platforms that are performing the simple act of fact-checking are all the more disturbing by an administration that continues to attack the media and journalists for performing the vital task of speaking truth to power. The President is not the decider of truth. Continuing to exploit prejudice is dangerous and irresponsible.

“In no way is Jack off the hook for Twitter finally taking steps to provide contextual information on its platform to users. This step is long overdue and many more must be taken for Twitter to make the platform a safe space for people experiencing daily abuse and fear.”

Background and context

Amnesty International has worked to understand and expose the impacts of dis/misinformation and online abuse, such as the Toxic Twitter campaign which has used cutting edge AI/ML tools to measure the extent of violence and abuse against women on Twitter.

Amnesty International has previously spoken out against Facebook’s data collection, which can be repurposed in various ways for targeted advertising, political messages and propaganda, or to keep people on the platform by amplifying abusive, discriminatory or hateful content. Amnesty international has also addressed Cambridge Analytica’s misuse of intimate personal Facebook data to micro-target and influence swing voters in the last U.S. presidential election.

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For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Mariya Parodi, [email protected]