National Security

Trump Threatens Defense Budget Over His Shitposts

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

Because of overwhelming public pressure, social media companies finally began to flag and label Trump's posts as misinformation when he lies about critical events like the presidential election. Many other conservatives claim they've been "censored" by social media companies when the truth is they were removed from the platforms for violating terms of service that prohibit certain things like harassment, threats of violence, and stalking.

To both ends, Trump is now threatening to veto the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) unless it includes a provision to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Trump called Section 230 “a serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity,” adding, “Therefore, if the very dangerous & unfair Section 230 is not completely terminated as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), I will be forced to unequivocally VETO the Bill.” [...]

Tuesday’s veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defense policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers. The measure, which has passed for 59 years in a row on a bipartisan basis, guides Pentagon policy and cements decisions about troop levels, new weapons systems and military readiness, military personnel policy and other military goals.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act shields social media companies from legal liability for the content posted by their users; so if Donald Trump libels someone on Twitter, for example, the company can't be held legally responsible for it. The only responsible party is Trump himself.

We've covered this several times before, but repealing Section 230 would not have the effect that Trump thinks it would.

Trump and many online conservatives believe repealing Section 230 would prevent social media companies from "censoring" them, but it would actually have the opposite effect. Social media companies would react to the loss of immunity by banning more people from their platforms entirely including Donald Trump himself.

Seeing Donald Trump and his Nazi followers banned from social media would be a wonderful sight, of course, but they wouldn't be alone. Legal dragnets would stifle innocent social content for reasons as petty as a copyright claim.

Trump himself is the "serious threat to our National Security & Election Integrity." I don't believe he will actually veto the NDAA, but if he does I expect his veto would be overridden.