Trump takes on Twitter

ABC News chief legal analyst Dan Abrams discusses the president’s threats to shut down the social media giant over fact-checking some of his tweets.
5:27 | 05/28/20

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Transcript for Trump takes on Twitter
For more on this issue let's bring in ABC news chief legal analyst Dan Abrams thanks much for joining us stand. A limited so let's start with Trump's threat to regulate or close down social media companies this yeah any authority to do that. I. I certainly think when it comes to shutting them down and he doesn't when it committed to regulation. But it would be typical as a legal matter to figure out exactly what authority he now. If congress wanted to join him in the effort that would be a different story. There isn't a specific. Regulation. On the books called protection cute thirty. Which specifically deals and where. Places like Twitter Beige Book. Waiting to regard to what the rules ought to be what they are. Liability they have if congress wanted to Jordan the president in making changes in that law. That could happen but the president alone. Would have to rely on the PC. Where the FCC meeting the Federal Trade Commission they usually deals were unclear crack it is. And it wouldn't be an easy road and likely. Would be deemed unconstitutional. He went duke. Oh so social media companies like Twitter and FaceBook have chosen to fact check or take down some posts that they say are false are they require by law to do this and if they do in fact check some posts. Doesn't that mean that they may be issued fact checked everything that's posted to their platforms to make sure that they're not biased. Right so what separate out the legal question from the practical NPR. The legal answer to that is no. They don't. The fact check but certainly there are allowed to put the the fact checking bags and that they are putting on there on net. The second question once they start down that road. Side due to aid anyhow get back check every one. Well that's not much a legal question is a practical war. Meeting bit if they do you start. Checking the president or more Republicans for example. They may have the answer questions to their community of people who used their problem. This day weighted dec. Here's why we're doing it here's what we're not a better and it may be more difficult to explain. If their only selectively back check. But added a new legal matter it probably doesn't have an impact. Unless they start literally book coming up publisher as opposed to a 40. If they really started getting into the business of putting out contents. And regularly talking engaging. Content that was on there. That would be a different story but they're not there yet and I can assure you they don't wanna go there. And that point you just made is one that senator Marco Rubio made saying this social media companies like Twitter aren't liable for false information on. I users' posts on their sites because they're considered forums and not publishers of information. Rubio argued that once they play an editorial role these companies should lose those legal protections. Does he have a point. We had to point it made moved cute far. Toward serving an editorial role but that's not we're talking about here also let's point out that this week. The need DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Ruled on a very similar question here about what power Twitter has it been banned somewhat. And a very conservative commentator challenged and its Asian debt to Twitter had made and it lost. In the DC circuit in a unanimous opinion so that's not good news board the president and others who wanted to say. We ought to be able to regulate this. We have to be able to regulate as speaker did did end up in court it is likely a losing argument for the president. If they go beyond just minor issues like saying we all. Create a place where people can file complaints. And things like that and literally get into the business they're starting to say what conduct and bass Chan her camp. Bill Twitter in the past has been reluctant to fact check or censor the pulse of world leaders including president child let me he's been in office several years now why make the distinction. At this point and change course now. Well look it it seems Twitter has changed its policy more broadly and be key for them. In maintaining credibility. Is that they have to applied across the board. And that's not just politically. But it mean to you can't just target. The highest profile people that if you're gonna have this policy in place you're gonna have to apply it to Twitter users. In general. Would regard few back checking. It'd be interesting in this particular case. The Q why they decided on bid comment about mail in voting. As opposed to use some other comments that the president has made and that some could argue that even needed a fact check more cell. Then in this particular allegation without making a judgment and how much it's when needed or didn't. It's dangerous being that this was the one that. For Twitter crossed the Loc. Dan Abrams thank you so much for your insight is always. Thank wouldn't it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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