President Trump said in the Oval Office Thursday that he would seek to shut down Twitter if it continued to not be "honorable" in its fact-checking and if there was a legal way to do so.

Reality check: Trump does not have the unilateral power to shut down social media platforms. Legal experts agree that doing so would be a violation of the First Amendment.

The big picture: The comment came as Trump signed an executive order targeting protections for Big Tech companies — a move catalyzed by the president's anger toward Twitter for issuing its first-ever fact-check on one of his tweets, which included misinformation on mail-in voting.

What he's saying: "If Twitter were not honorable, if you're going to have a guy like [Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of site integrity] being your judge and jury, I think just shut it down as far as I'm concerned."

  • Trump added that he's unsure how he would shut down Twitter, saying that he would need to speak to a legal team.
  • "If it were able to be legally shut down, I would do it. I think I'd be hurting it very badly if we didn't use it anymore."

Trump also told reporters that he would delete his Twitter account "in a heartbeat" if there was not so much "fake news" — referring to critical coverage by journalists. He has often said that Twitter is his preferred platform for communicating directly with the American public.

Go deeper: Trump has turned Big Tech's speech rules into a political football

Go deeper

Twitter account linked to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi hacked

Narendra Modi. Photo: Prakash Singh/AFP via Getty Images

Twitter confirmed on Wednesday night that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personal account has been hacked, with tweets that have since been taken down asking his 2.5 million followers to donate to a cryptocurrency relief fund.

Why it matters: This hacking follows a similar cryptocurrency scam in July, when hackers took over the accounts of Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Elon Musk, Bill Gates and other notable figures.

What they're saying: Twitter said in a statement it's "actively investigating" the hacking of @narendramodi_in. "At this time, we are not aware of additional accounts being impacted," it said.

Go deeper: Twitter hack raises fears of an unstable election

Chaos scenarios drive gatekeepers' election prep

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Big Tech is holding dry runs to game out Election Day chaos scenarios, key participants tell Axios.

Axios has learned that Facebook, Google, Twitter and Reddit are holding regular meetings with one another, with federal law enforcement — and with intelligence agencies — to discuss potential threats to election integrity.

Updated Sep 3, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump suggests people in N.C. vote twice to test mail-in system

President Trump makes a speech at the U.S.S. Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington, N.C. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

President Trump suggested during a visit to North Carolina that people should vote once by mail and again in person during the election.

What he's saying: "Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system's as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote," he said. "If it isn't tabulated, they'll be able to vote. And that’s what they should do."