Trump echoes conservative claims that social media companies censor conservatives
Trump’s tweets come after Facebook, Google and Apple have each taken steps to remove conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from its platforms.
Aug.18.2018 / 9:49 AM ET
Conservatives on the internet have spent years claiming social media companies discriminate against them. On Saturday, those accusations reached the White House.
President Donald Trump on Saturday tweeted a series of comments accusing social media companies of “totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices” but stopped short of calling for government intervention on the matter.
Trump did not name any companies specifically, but did claim that CNN and MSNBC spread “Fake News.” MSNBC is part of NBC News.
Trump’s tweets come after Facebook, Google and Apple have each taken steps to remove conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars media outlet from its platforms. Twitter also suspended Jones for a week. Jones is best known for spreading the unfounded theory that the elementary school massacre at Sandy Hook was a hoax, a claim that has made him the target of civil lawsuits.
Tech companies have been under growing pressure to do more to manage the spread of misinformation and hate speech on their platforms after it was found that they were manipulated by Russia during the 2016 U.S. election.
In response, some conservative politicians have seized on claims from their supporters that tech companies have a liberal bias and are unfairly targeting conservative speech. In July, the House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the topic at which some Republicans pushed executives from Google, Facebook and Twitter about their actions, asking why fringe websites like Gateway Pundit were losing web traffic.
Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices. 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…….
…..Censorship is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police. If you are weeding out Fake News, there is nothing so Fake as CNN & MSNBC, & yet I do not ask that their sick behavior be removed. I get used to it and watch with a grain of salt, or don’t watch at all..
….Too many voices are being destroyed, some good & some bad, and that cannot be allowed to happen. Who is making the choices, because I can already tell you that too many mistakes are being made. Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!
The president is no stranger to conspiracy theories, having espoused a variety of them throughout his time as a presidential candidate and during his presidency. Trump — who appeared on Infowars in December 2015 and told Jones, “your reputation is amazing” — has made media criticism a core part of his message but recently has also begun to target tech companies.
In July, Trump criticized Twitter for restricting the reach of conservatives on its platform, a claim known as “shadowbanning.” Twitter has denied doing so.