The Trump administration has filed a motion asking a court to dismiss big tech's challenge to his social media executive order. As reported by Reuters, Trump has described the situation as a "profound misunderstanding".
Trump first filed the executive order against "social media bias" after his tweets were labelled for fact-checking. Then a group of senators and the FCC tried to redefine the regulation of social media organizations. This also comes as Trump is embroiled in a war against the Chinese owners of TikTok.
Trump's order will channel complaints about political bias to the Federal Trade Commission. The U.S. Commerce Department has also petitioned the FCC for new laws to gain transparency on how social media companies moderate content.
This has all prompted the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) to file a lawsuit against Trump's directives. CDT's lawsuit argued that the executive order violates the First Amendment rights of the companies concerned. Now Trump has moved to strike this suit down.
Trump attempts to strike down big tech's lawsuit
CDT argues that the executive order reduces the ability of Americans to speak freely online. However, the administration argues that the order only affects government agencies and not private companies.
The motion filed by the Department of Justice in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia tries to clarify this. It states, "The EO challenged here imposes no obligations on any private party"
The motion goes onto to note that it could lead officials to examine, "allegations that large social media online platforms have displayed political bias in moderating content".
Trump makes the latest move in tensions between big tech and Washington
The lawsuit and ensuing back and forth statements are a good reflection of the relationship between big tech and Washington. Tensions have risen over Trump's administration as he has tried to use social media companies as tools in his arsenal.
Avery Gardiner, CDT’s general counsel, also called the executive order "unconstitutional". Gardiner has also said that the administration is "resorting to legal manoeuvring". Instead of "actually trying to address the merits of the issues".
White House spokesman Judd Deere said the administration moved to dismiss the case because "it is not a valid legal argument". Deer went onto say "doesn’t understand how administrative action works". Even questioning their understanding of the legal system.
The Department of Justice is yet to comment on the issue. Whilst Twitter called the move a "reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law."
Tensions between social media companies and the Trump administration are unlikely to go away any time soon. This is just the latest chapter in that particular story and what happens over the next few months will no doubt be fascinating.