United States President Donald Trump Signs an Executive Order to Muzzle Free Expression

US President’s double-faced Executive Order suppressing civil liberties

* Targets Social Media giant Twitter for regulation over alleged ‘political activism’

* US cities see more destructions as protesters rage against police brutality ─Reports

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

“The media represents great power. As someone who has received a lot of attention from the media, I know that its power to make someone recognisable is unbelievable. I had always been relatively well-known, but it was nothing compared to my fame now…. ‘Now’, I am famous.”  ‘Trump: Think Like A Billionaire’ (2004:139), by Donald J. Trump with Meredith McIver

United States (US) President Donald Trump actually penned the above excerpt in one of his books about his exciting personal experiences with media attention and recognition 16 years ago as an American businessman with interests in real estate, gaming, sports and entertainment.

However, with the presidential powers to wield at will as the 45th President of the US since 2017, the widely acclaimed “Twitter President” relationships with both the conventional and Social Media organisations have begun to take a plunge.

As part of the pointless clampdown on civil liberty and free press as the Fourth Estate of the Realm in any normal economy by intolerant autocrats and racists in democratic societies in recent times, President Trump has signed an Executive Order seeking to ‘transform’ the way global Social Media giants are regulated.

ConsumerConnect reports that Trump’s latest attack on freedom of speech followed his groundless fury over Twitter, a leading Social Media platform, which had tagged two of his tweets with fact checks, also in an unprecedented measure.

In his signed Executive Order Thursday, May 28 in which he actually attempted to strip Social Media giants like Twitter of legal immunity for content posted by users worldwide.

He said the ostensibly unexpected regulation was needed because the companies are no longer neutral forums but engaging in “political activism.”

According to Trump, such platforms have “unchecked power to censor, restrict… virtually any form of communication between private citizens.”

The White House says President Trump “did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it”?

“We can’t let that happen, especially when they go about doing what they’re doing because they’re doing things incorrectly, they have points of view,” Trump alleged.

Report also indicated that if this was enacted, the tech giants such as Twitter and Facebook would become open to lawsuits and greatly increased government regulations.

Social media platform, Twitter, Friday, May 29 flagged Trump’s tweet about the protests and violence in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for “glorifying violence,” leading to a response from the The White House office of the United States President, in Washington, D.C., report stated.

Earlier, he had tweeted about the protests which followed the death of an African-American George Floyd, who was filmed saying he could not breathe as a white Police officer used his knee to pin him down.

The President tweeted: “These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen.

“Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz, and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!”

He further tweeted on same subject regarding the backlash over Floyd’s death: “I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership.

“Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right….”

Nevertheless, as a responsible corporate citizen in applying the fundamental Social Responsibility function of the media, according to Twitter, the company flagged the tweet in what it tagged a “public interest notice”.

It was learnt that the implication is that the tweet would not be taken out of the Social Media platform but hidden under a notice reading: “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.”

“As is standard with this notice, engagements with the Tweet will be limited. People will be able to Retweet with Comment, but will not be able to Like, Reply or Retweet it,” the digital tech giant further explained.

Report stated that in response to Twitter’s decision to flag Trump’s purported violence-glorying tweet,  the official White House account called Twitter’s bluff by retweeting the same post.

Incidentally, Twitter also rejoined by saying that while it violated its rules, the company “determined that it may be in the public’s interest for the Tweet to remain accessible.”

The White House later shamefacedly defended Trump’s tweet, saying, “the President did not glorify violence. He clearly condemned it.”

But as his office did not clarify what the anticipated meaning of the President’s initial tweet, which Twitter maintained allegedly glorified violence, Dan Scavino, Trump’s Social Media Director and Twitter Feed Manager, also tweeted that “Twitter is full of shit — more and more people are beginning to get it.”

Meanwhile, agency report indicated Sunday, May 31 that major US cities feared another night of violent protests over the death of George Floyd in Police custody, cleaning up broken glass and burned out cars after curfews failed to stop confrontations between activists and law enforcement.

US major cities now in fear of more violent protests over the death of George Floyd in Police custody. Photo: Sunday Times, UK

Report said what initially started as peaceful demonstrations over the death of Floyd, who died as a white Minneapolis Police officer knelt on his neck, have become a wave of outrage sweeping a politically and racially divided nation.

Protesters have flooded streets after weeks of lockdowns during the Coronavirus pandemic that threw millions out of work and hit minority communities especially hard, report stated.

As demonstrators broke windows and set fires, Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse crowds in many cities. In some cases, bystanders and members of the media were also targeted in the process.

The source disclosed that in a video from Minneapolis, a National Guard Humvee rolls down a residential street followed by what appear to be Police officers wearing tactical gear.

An officer orders residents to go inside, then yells “light ‘em up” before shooting projectiles at a group of people on their front porch. The city’s curfew does not apply to residents outside on their private property.

Thousands of people also gathered peacefully Sunday afternoon for a rally in St. Paul as state troopers surrounded the state capitol building. About 170 stores in the city have been looted, its mayor told CNN.

“There is no real one answer but the beginning is we have to learn to be honest with each other,” said 66-year-old community activist Philip Holmes as he stood among demonstrators holding “Black Lives Matter” signs.

While covering the protests in Minneapolis at night Saturday, May 30, two members of a Reuters TV crew were reportedly hit by rubber bullets and a Reuters photographer’s camera was smashed as attacks against journalists covering civil unrest in US cities intensified.

Violent protests spread across cities in the US.   Photo: CGTN

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien Sunday said that the administration of President Trump, who has called protesters “thugs”, would not federalise and take control of the National Guard for now.

Trump also said Sunday that the US Government would designate anti-fascist group Antifa as a terrorist organisation, though report indicated that it was not clear how many of the protesters participating in demonstrations are from Antifa.

The US President Sunday afternoon loosely retorted: “Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS.

“Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!”

Additional reporting by Alexander Davis and Emmanuel Akosile

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