dearJulius.com Write For Us

White House distances itself from reports that Trump could target Facebook, Google and Twitter with a new executive order

SHARE:

© Alex Brandon/AP   President Trump waves as he walks to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Thursday. (Alex Brandon/AP)

By Tony Romm, Josh Dawsey, The Washington Post

The White House sought to distance itself Saturday from reports that President Trump is considering an executive order that would subject tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter to federal investigations for alleged political bias.

For weeks, top tech companies have been on edge, fearing that the Trump administration could seek to regulate the industry in response to the president’s tweets attacking social-media sites for silencing conservatives online. Their worst suspicions seemed to come true Friday night, with the emergence of a draft executive order that called for nearly every federal agency to study how companies like Facebook police their platforms and refer instances of “bias” to the Justice Department for further study.

But three White House aides soon insisted they didn't write the draft order, didn't know where it came from, and generally found it to be unworkable policy anyway. One senior White House official confirmed the document had been floating around the White House but had not gone through the formal process, which is controlled by the staff secretary.

Asked about the document, Lindsay Walters, the deputy White House press secretary, said of the digital-age ‘whodunit’ on Saturday: “Although the White House is concerned about the conduct of online platforms and their impact on society, this document is not the result of an official White House policymaking process.”

For months, companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have grappled with allegations of anti-conservative bias from the country’s top Republicans. In tweets, Trump repeatedly has charged without evidence that tech companies deliberately silence right-leaning viewers and even rig search results to show negative stories about conservatives or hide their accounts altogether. He has frequently told allies that bias against conservatives is a central issue to his supporters, and his campaign has used the allegations as fodder for fundraising in recent weeks.

On Capitol Hill, meanwhile, top Republicans have mounted their own campaign against Silicon Valley, even forcing Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify at a recent hearing about accusations of censorship. GOP leaders have threatened to force Google’s leading executives to do the same.

But the political attacks morphed into a new, real threat of stinging regulation earlier this month, when the Justice Department announced it would gather state attorneys general on Sept. 25 to discuss the tech industry, its filtering practices online and the implications for antitrust. For Facebook, Google, Twitter and their peers, the session seemed poised to open the door for the federal and state government to coordinate and begin fresh investigations of their business practices.

All month, those companies' lobbyists also had been buzzing about a potential White House executive order that aimed “to protect competition and small businesses from bias in online platforms,” according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Post. If signed by the president, it would task federal agencies — including the independent Justice Department — to “investigate/and or prosecute” companies that use their “market power in a way that harms consumers.” The draft document ultimately leaked Friday, published by Bloomberg News, to whom a White House official said it was under consideration.

Aides at the White House said all week that the National Economic Council — which would have been tasked under the draft order to help agencies probe online bias — didn’t write it and didn’t know where it came from. Nor did the White House’s top tech policy hub, the Office of Science and Technology Policy, two White House sources said. Trump has often ordered aides to write executive orders that were later deemed unworkable, but another senior White House official said he had no knowledge of this one.

“It would be entirely insane,” said one lawyer with knowledge of the document, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The document has floated to tech companies such as Facebook and lawyers at white-shoe firms around Washington. In fact, the first that many at OSTP had even heard of an executive order came from an email sent by an unlikely source: Yelp, the reviews site. The company long has attacked Google for abusing its market power, albeit by limiting the reach of some of its competitors in search results and not political bias. Still, Luther Lowe, senior vice president for policy at Yelp, contacted multiple White House aides in September with the draft executive order, according to two White House aides and a copy of an email shared with The Post.

Reached this weekend, Lowe did not address whether he wrote or commissioned the executive order. “Far from riding the current tech backlash, Yelp has been consistently critical of Google for actual bias in search results — in local search, for their own competitive benefit,” he said in a statement. “We believe this anti-competitive conduct — biasing their results in favor of their own house properties — to be a violation of US antitrust law and we have been urging both political parties in Congress, the Administration and regulators to investigate and prosecute this illegal bias.”

COMMENTS



Note: If you think this story need more information or correction, feel free to comment below your opinion and reaction.
Like & Follow to Stay Updated ...

Name

AI,3,Amazon,1,Apple,5,Emoji,1,Facebook,17,Games,35,Google,7,Instagram,6,Science,205,Security,4,Social Media,24,Tech,242,Technology,1080,Tesla,5,Twitter,4,
ltr
item
Technology - U.S. Daily News: White House distances itself from reports that Trump could target Facebook, Google and Twitter with a new executive order
White House distances itself from reports that Trump could target Facebook, Google and Twitter with a new executive order
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6w528sIIEZA/W6cjHx21QTI/AAAAAAAAcAk/8H-6iEuYOqYzei_bNF-xoF4yXV1k2rzLQCLcBGAs/s1600/1.jpg
https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-6w528sIIEZA/W6cjHx21QTI/AAAAAAAAcAk/8H-6iEuYOqYzei_bNF-xoF4yXV1k2rzLQCLcBGAs/s72-c/1.jpg
Technology - U.S. Daily News
https://tech.dailynews.us.com/2018/09/white-house-distances-itself-from.html
https://tech.dailynews.us.com/
https://tech.dailynews.us.com/
https://tech.dailynews.us.com/2018/09/white-house-distances-itself-from.html
true
4191228214535516123
UTF-8
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share. STEP 2: Click the link you shared to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy