This statement was originally published on pen.org on 27 May 2020.
In response to President Trump’s threats to shut down Twitter over its fact-check of his false tweets, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said the following:
“President Trump’s threat to regulate or shut down social media platforms sounds a red alert for all Americans who care about free speech. His call to punish Twitter for its fact-checking of his blatantly false statements is akin to threatening to shut down a newspaper or a TV network for a report considered unfriendly. Not only does he not have the authority to silence these platforms and users, the constitution expressly forbids using the power of government to exact reprisals against speech. He isn’t protecting free speech; he is chilling it.
“Free speech has never involved a right to say things that are false and not be held to account. In this instance, Twitter has neither silenced the president nor closed his account. And that’s a good thing. It is valuable for Americans to know what their president thinks, no matter how odious. It’s often revelatory.
“But when those tweets are deceptive or misleading, the company is well within its rights to apply its rules: namely that information will be fact-checked, and if found to be false, marked as such. Twitter is not obligated to offer a vehicle for President Trump’s falsehoods, and he perverts the power of the presidency in threatening the company for doing so.”
Source: MEDIA FEED