White House eyes antitrust probe into tech giants: report

US president Donald Trump
US president Donald Trump

The White House has reportedly drafted an executive order that would push federal antitrust and law enforcement agencies to probe the business practices of social media and other Internet companies.

According to Bloomberg, the order has yet to be reviewed by other government agencies and remains in its preliminary stages. It is also still unclear whether the order will be signed by President Donald Trump.

The document instructs US antitrust authorities to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws.” It instructs other government agencies to recommend within a month after it’s signed, actions that could potentially “protect competition among online platforms and address online platform bias.”

The document reportedly does not name any specific companies as the target of such investigations.

The news follows repeated comments by Trump and other prominent Republican politicians about the alleged online censorship of conservatives by tech companies, Bloomberg said.

Facebook and Twitter have denied accusations of politically motivated censorship. The companies have defended their existing internal policies which guide whether users should be suspended or banned from their platforms based on rule violations, such as bullying and other forms of harassment.

In August, Trump Tweeted: “Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” Trump said on Twitterin August. “Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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