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Trump expected to sign executive order cracking down on Facebook, Twitter



President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order Thursday cracking down on online platforms such as Facebook, Google and Twitter, vowing “a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!”

The move comes days after Twitter began fact-checking some of his tweets.

The order would push the Federal Communications Commission to write rules on when and how platforms can remove content from their platform and still maintain liability protection granted them under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The law as it stands largely exempts those publications from being held liable for much of the content on their websites.

The working order, which cites Twitter by name, would encourage the Federal Trade Commission to take action against companies that engage in “deceptive” acts of communication.

The order would also create a working group of state attorneys general to review relevant state statutes.

“This will be a Big Day for Social Media and FAIRNESS!” Trump tweeted.

Without congressional action,  there are limits to what Trump can do with an executive order. Still, his words seemingly weighed on social media companies’ share prices Thursday morning. Shares of Twitter were down 5% in premarket trading, while Facebook was down more than 3% and Google was down more than 1%. 

Section 230 has become a lightning rod in the debate over online content. Online publishers have defended the statute as necessary to allow people to express their opinions, while their detractors have argued it gives companies like Twitter a way to sidestep regulations imposed on traditional publishers, despite the crucial role they play in disseminating news. 

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US and Hong Kong TikTok users freak out



TikTok users in the U.S. and Hong Kong are deeply concerned after realizing that political matters may have jeopardized their future on the app. 

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Monday that he is “looking at” banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps amid rising tensions between Washington and Beijing. 

Within hours of hearing that the U.S. could potentially block TikTok, users of the short video app were freaking out on the platform. 

“I do not accept this,” one user wrote. “Let’s not U.S.,” wrote another. 

“Well then I really won’t have a life,” another said. “TikTok is literally my life,” another user wrote. 

A TikTok post about the potential ban received 17,000 likes and close to 6,000 comments within a minute of it being published. 

Owned by Beijing-headquartered ByteDance, TikTok is one of several Chinese-owned technology companies being probed by the U.S. 

Washington has expressed concerns that TikTok censors politically-sensitive content and that TikTok user data could be accessed by Beijing.

TikTok has been trying to distance itself from its Chinese parent company by setting up separate entities outside China. The company’s biggest office is in Los Angeles, while London is its main hub in Europe. In May, it appointed Disney’s streaming boss, Kevin Mayer, as its chief executive. 

“TikTok is led by an American CEO, with hundreds of employees and key leaders across safety, security, product and public policy in the U.S.,” a TikTok spokesperson told CNBC.

“We have no higher priority than providing a safe and secure app experience for our users. We have never provided user data to the Chinese government, nor would we do so if asked.” 

The Trump administration has been scrutinizing Chinese firms like Huawei for years amid concerns that they pose a threat to national security. The U.S. is concerned that these technology companies could pass data to the Communist Party of China. Huawei has repeatedly denied all allegations of espionage. 

Hong Kong retreat

Meanwhile, TikTok has said it will pull out of the Hong Kong market after China imposed a new security law on the city that gives police more powers. 

“In light of recent events, we’ve decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong,” a spokesperson told CNBC on Tuesday. The company will exit Hong Kong “within days,” Reuters reported

“Nooo they’re going to withdraw TikTok from Hong Kong. I’m going to miss one direction tik tok asdffdsfgc this is cruel,” a Twitter user wrote. 

TikTok has become one of the world’s most popular apps since launching in 2017. Globally, it has amassed over 2 billion downloads across the Apple Store and the Google Play Store, according to app tracking firm Sensor Tower. 

Other technology companies including Google, Facebook and Twitter have suspended processing government access requests for user data in Hong Kong. 

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German industrial output rebounds in sign of post-lockdown recovery



People wearing face masks walks in Frankfurt am Main, western Germany, as the European Central Bank headquarter can be seen in the background.


Germany’s industrial production rebounded in May, rising by 7.8% on the month after falling by a revised 17.5% in April, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday, in the latest sign that Europe’s largest economy is recovering after lockdown.

The bounce-back, more modest than the 10% rise economists had been forecasting, was led by a 27.6% surge in production of capital goods. Growth was more modest in other areas and factories churned out fewer intermediate goods.

A host of indicators in past days have shown clear signs that the exporting powerhouse has put the worst of the impact of the coronavirus lockdown behind it: orders for industrial goods rose 10.4% in May, rebounding from their biggest
drop since records began in 1991 the previous month.

Despite the recovery, production is still well below the levels recorded before the onset of the coronavirus crisis. May output was down 19% in calendar-and season-adjusted terms on February, the month before lockdown measures were

Nonetheless, firms in the sector are optimistic. A survey by the Ifo institute showed that they expect their production to increase in the coming three months. 

Germany has withstood the crisis better than most of its neighbours, suffering relatively fewer deaths from the virus. Its economy has also weathered the pandemic better, partly because it let factories and construction sites remain open.

The government is helping the economy weather the crisis with massive rescue and stimulus packages, including rolling out short-time work, a form of state aid designed to encourage companies to keep employees on the payroll during a

Still, the government expects the economy to shrink by 6.3% this year, its worst recession since World War Two.

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EU cuts economic forecasts for the region



Waiters work at the terrace of a cafe in Paris, on June 15, 2020, one day after French president announced the reopening of dining rooms of Parisian cafes and restaurants.


The European Commission has slashed its 2020 and 2021 economic expectations as the coronavirus pandemic keeps taking a toll on the 27 economies.

The Brussels-based institution expects the 27-member region to contract by 8.3% this year, followed by a rebound of 5.8% in 2021. In May, the Commission estimated a 7.4% contraction for total GDP across the region this year, with a rebound of 6.1% in 2021.

“The economic impact of the lockdown is more severe than we initially expected. We continue to navigate in stormy waters and face many risks, including another major wave of infections,” Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Commission, said in a statement Tuesday.

The outlook has worsened over the last two months irrespective of the steps that most European countries have taken to reopen their economies.

In recent days, concerns have also emerged about regional outbreaks. The Spanish authorities have re-imposed restrictions in the region of Galicia, and Portugal reinstated some measures in Lisbon after a growing number of infections.

The International Monetary Fund said in June that the euro area, the 19-member region that shares the euro, would contract by more than 10% in 2020. France, Italy and Spain could contract by about 12% this year, according to the IMF. 

To boost any economic recovery, the EU is working on an unprecedented fiscal stimulus plan. However, differences of opinion between the 27 heads of state mean a compromise is still to be found. They will be gathering in Brussels next week to discuss the proposed 750 billion euro rescue fund.

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