Republican Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz filed a complaint Friday with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against social media giant Twitter.
Gaetz claims that Twitter, in fact-checking a post from President Donald Trump, has shifted from its perceived role as a neutral media platform and is actively campaigning for the Democratic Party in advance of the 2020 election.
“Twitter has taken upon itself to free ride on one of the President’s Tweets as a campaigning activity. The social media platform is overstepping boundaries and setting aside its privileged role as a mere ‘interactive computer service,’ and instead acting as a ‘shadow contributor’ to the Democratic National Committee,” the complaint, provided to the Daily Caller, explained. “By trespassing its role as a [Section] 230 protected forum, Twitter has acted as a campaign contributor, and not as a mere interactive computer service.” (Rep. Matt Gaetz: If The Government Doesn’t Act, ‘Big Tech Will Steal This Election From Donald Trump’)
In comments provided to the Daily Caller, Gaetz amplified on his concern: “Twitter … is not expressing free speech. They are acting as a publisher and I would say they’re acting though political activity when they’ve chosen to characterize the president’s comments often inaccurately.”
“I believe they are outside of the law,” Gaetz continued, saying that this led him to the second portion of this complaint: exceeding mandated donation limits.
“If these editorial comments are in fact donations on a platform they would undeniably exceed the federal limits for donations,” Gaetz said.
Trump issued an executive order Thursday that would strip social media giants of their exemption from libel laws if they continue to censor posts.
Although Trump was fact-checked by Twitter after he criticized mail-in voting earlier in the week, it is not the first time that president has faced-off against social media. He said both Facebook and Twitter interfered in the 2016 presidential election and 2018 midterm elections on behalf of Democrats. (RELATED: Twitter Says It Will Not Remove Trump’s Tweets About Scarborough’s Dead Intern)
Gaetz said Thursday on Fox News’ “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that Trump’s executive order against social media is necessary if “big tech” isn’t going to “steal the election” from Republicans.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has been unapologetic about interfering in Trump’s mail-in voting tweet. “[T]here is someone ultimately accountable for our actions as a company, and that’s me,” Dorsey tweeted. “Please leave our employees out of this. We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. And we will admit to and own any mistakes we make.”