Draft order for Trump could open probe into Facebook, Google

A Google logo in an office building in Zurich

Draft order for Trump could open probe into Facebook, Google

(See the full document at Business Insider.) But White House aides say don't know who wrote the draft order or even where it originated.

All month, those companies' lobbyists also had been buzzing about a potential White House executive order that aimed "to protect competition and small businesses from bias in online platforms", according to a copy of the document obtained by The Washington Post.

It instructs USA antitrust authorities to "thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws". "Yelp has been consistently critical of Google for actual bias in search results-in local search, for their own competitive benefit", says Lowe in a statement that echoes Yelp's ongoing criticism of Google but doesn't address the question. The order has yet to be reviewed by other government agencies and remains in its preliminary stages, Bloomberg reported on Saturday.

The document has floated to tech companies such as Facebook and lawyers at white-shoe firms around Washington.

If signed, the order could indicate a significant clash between the Trump administration and the U.S. tech giants, which have risen largely free of regulatory interference since the dot-com crash in the late 1990s.

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Social media companies have acknowledged in congressional hearings that their efforts to enforce prohibitions against online harassment have sometimes led to erroneous punishment of political figures on both the left and the right, and that once discovered, those mistakes have been corrected. The order continues to state that consumer harm could come "through the exercise of bias".

The draft order states that any actions the investigators take should be consistent with other laws - apparently to reference concerns about conflict between the order and the First Amendment, which protects the freedom of political opinion. This meeting on September 25 will help Sessions assess if there is a federal case to be made against the companies, the Bloomberg report said while quoting two individuals familiar with the matter.

For weeks, top tech companies have been on edge, fearing that the Trump administration could seek to regulate the industry in response to the president's tweets attacking social-media sites for silencing conservatives online.

A Pew Research Center survey earlier this year found that 72 percent of Americans, and 85 percent of Republicans, think it's likely that social media companies intentionally censor political viewpoints that those companies themselves find objectionable.

Facebook said that they might come back with thoughts to avoid underage consumption of their software, but instead they are vigorously targeting teen kids.

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