Law suit over Trump's social media order

A lawsuit alleges Donald Trump's executive order aimed at social media would curb free speech.
A lawsuit alleges Donald Trump's executive order aimed at social media would curb free speech.

A tech-focused civil liberties group has launched legal action to block President Donald Trump's executive order that seeks to regulate social media, saying it violates the First Amendment.

Trump's order, signed last week, could allow more lawsuits against internet companies like Twitter and Facebook for what their users post, tweet and stream.

The president aimed to rally his supporters after Twitter put fact checks on two of his tweets. Trump, without evidence, has long accused tech companies of being biased against conservatives.

The order targets current law that protects internet companies from lawsuits. They can't be sued for hosting videos and posts from users, or for moderating their services, with some exceptions.

In its suit, the Centre for Democracy and Technology said putting fact-checks on the President's tweets is Twitter's right as a private company.

More broadly, it says the order is trying to curb speech of all online platforms and people "by demonstrating the willingness to use government authority to retaliate against those who criticise the government," CDT said.

"The government cannot and should not force online intermediaries into moderating speech according to the president's whims," said Alexandra Givens, CDT's CEO, in an emailed statement.

The organisation filed the federal suit in the US District Court for the District of Columbia.

Australian Associated Press