The White House sought to distance itself from reports that President Donald Trump is considering an executive order that would subject tech giants like Facebook, Google and Twitter to federal investigations for alleged political bias.
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.
Their worst suspicions seemed to come true Friday night, with the emergence of a draft executive order that called for nearly every federal agency to study how companies like Facebook police their platforms and refer instances of “bias” to the Justice Department for further study.
But three White House aides soon insisted they didn’t write the draft order, didn’t know where it came from, and generally found it to be unworkable policy anyway.
One senior White House official confirmed the document had been floating around the White House but had not gone through the formal process, which is controlled by the staff secretary.