Donald TrumpWASHINGTON (Reuters) ― The White House has drafted an executive order that would push federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies to probe the business practices of social media and other internet companies, according to Bloomberg and Business Insider.
It is unclear whether the order will be signed by President Donald Trump. The order has yet to be reviewed by other government agencies and remains in its preliminary stages, Bloomberg reported on Saturday. The document reportedly does not name any specific companies as the target of such investigations.
According to Business Insider, which obtained a draft of the executive order, the proposed text focuses on so-called “bias” at tech companies:
…Executive departments and agencies with authorities that could be used to enhance competition among online platforms (agencies) shall, where consistent with other laws, use those authorities to promote competition and ensure that no online platform exercises market power in a way that harms consumers, including through the exercise of bias.
…Not later than 30 days from the date of this order, agencies shall submit to the Director of the National Economic Council an initial list of (1) actions each agency can potentially take to protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The news follows repeated comments by Trump and other prominent Republican politicians about the alleged online censorship of conservatives by tech companies.
“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” Trump tweeted last month. “Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD.”
Facebook, Twitter and Google deny they’ve been involved in politically motivated censorship. In recent months, the companies have defended their existing internal policies which guide whether users should be suspended or banned from their platforms based on rule violations, such as bullying and other forms of harassment.
“We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a company-wide email sent Friday. “The trust our users place in us is our greatest asset and we must always protect it. If any Googler ever undermines that trust, we will hold them accountable.”
(Reporting by Christopher Bing; Editing by Sandra Maler)
HuffPost reporter Hayley Miller contributed reporting.