President Trump’s White House is considering an executive order that would force federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies to look into the practices of Big Tech social media companies like Google and Facebook, reported Bloomberg.
According to a report in Bloomberg citing a draft of the order it obtained and a White House Official, the order is in the early stages and hasn’t been passed by other agencies within the government. Meanwhile, Lindsay Walters, deputy White House press secretary, told Bloomberg in an email statement that the document wasn’t the result of any official White House policy process.
The document calls on antitrust authorities in the U.S. to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws,” reported Bloomberg. It also tells the government agencies to provide recommendation within a month after Trump signs the executive order. The White House wants recommendations that would “protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.” The report noted that the document does not list the companies — but if it were signed, it would mark a big escalation in Trump’s fight with Google, Facebook, and Twitter. He has accused the big tech companies of silencing conservative voices and news sources online without providing any evidence. “Social media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” Trump said on Twitter in August, reported Bloomberg in the report. “Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.”
According to Bloomberg, the draft also says any actions federal agencies do take have to be consistent with other laws. Bloomberg reported that appeared to be a nod to worries that the executive order could threaten the independence of U.S. law enforcement and could be in conflict with the First Amendment that protects the government from trying to regulate political views. “Because of their critical role in American society, it is essential that American citizens are protected from anticompetitive acts by dominant online platforms,” the order said, according to Bloomberg.