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Donald Trump repeats claims he is being unfairly targeted by social media sites

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

Donald Trump has again accused Twitter of targeting him and his supporters as he continued his attacks on social media platforms.

The US president said on Friday that legal protections which allow social media sites to remove content they deem inappropriate was akin to censorship and should be revoked by Congress.

It comes after Mr Trump signed an executive order on Thursday aimed at starting such a process, and in response to several of his tweets being sanctioned by Twitter.

The order is expected to face legal challenges and has been labelled largely symbolic by commentators.

In a Friday morning tweet, Mr Trump repeated his previous claim that the platform was biased against him and his supporters.

“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States. Section 230 should be revoked by Congress. Until then, it will be regulated,” Mr Trump said.

Earlier this week, Twitter placed fact-checking labels on two tweets from the president’s personal account which made claims about fraud in US postal voting.

On Thursday the platform then also took action against another of Mr Trump’s tweets, hiding a post about the protests in the city of Minneapolis after the death of a black man in police custody.

Mr Trump had said he would “send in the National Guard” to end the protests, before adding in a second tweet that “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

A message was placed over that second tweet, warning it breached the site’s rules for glorifying violence, with users needing to click on it to then see the tweet in full.

Mr Trump accused Twitter of censorship, and on Friday the official White House Twitter account re-posted a full quote of the now-hidden tweet to its own page in a show of defiance against the warning labels.

Shortly afterwards, Twitter also covered the White House tweet with the same warning message.

In its response to the executive order, Twitter called the president’s actions a political move targeting free speech.

“This EO is a reactionary and politicised approach to a landmark law,” the firm said.

“#Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values.

“Attempts to unilaterally erode it threaten the future of online speech and Internet freedoms.”

It remains unclear what, if any, action will be taken in future against social media firms in the US as a result of the president’s executive order.

However social media consultant and industry expert Matt Navarra described it as “mostly political theatrics” and said users around the world were unlikely to see any changes to the service.

“It’s largely toothless right now.

“It puts the platforms on warning that he may try to make life tougher for them and do them no favours, but that’s been the state of affairs between the two parties for some time now anyway,” he said.

“I suspect the major social platforms such as Twitter and Facebook will continue to stand firm with their position on moderation and fact-checking, whilst Trump will bang his drum and beat his chest a little while longer on this issue.

“This development pretty much changes nothing in the short term for users, or the platforms themselves.”