The Trump administration is asking victims of social media censorship to share their stories, promising to “fight for free speech online” and exciting conservatives who feel their plight has been ignored.
“No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it!” the White House tweeted with a link to a form where users could fill in the details of their persecution at the hands of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, or “other.”
Of the named platforms, only Twitter had anything to say about the administration’s call for stories, responding that it enforces its terms of service “impartially” without regard to “background or political affiliation.” President Donald Trump met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey last month at the White House just hours after complaining (via Twitter) that the platform didn’t “treat [him] well as a Republican,” and Dorsey has admitted in the past that they’ve been “too aggressive” in banning right-wing users, but many complain that nothing has changed.
Many Trump supporters saw the call for stories as the answer to their prayers, almost a year after first Alex Jones and then hundreds more non-mainstream users were deplatformed.
Trump is coming through on his campaign promises AND now defending our freedom of speech in an unprecedented way! This is phenomenally exciting!
— 🇺🇸⭐️Trump⭐️Lane⭐️🇺🇸 (@Mystfire77) May 16, 2019
It’s why he invited Jack to the Whitehouse. He gave him a chance to do the right thing. Instead, he amped up the censorship. It’s not going to bode well for him.
— PrideandPrejudice (@JaneLizzyBennet) May 15, 2019
Others, not taking any chances, posted their stories to Twitter as well.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT
There are two sets of rules
One for them—One for us
Michael Moore was not suspended for using the phrase “Crash and Burn”
—nor should he have been & neither should I. But I was.
I had to delete my tweet & serve a 7 day suspension.@realDonaldTrump@parscalepic.twitter.com/nRjLGAyq7s
— CC (@ChatByCC) May 15, 2019
Some suspected ulterior motives.
Next will come the send money request, if it isn’t included already at the end of the process
— Castmaster (@littleimpressio) May 15, 2019
Is the non .gov site secure?
Who owns the emails that are collected?
What measures have been taken to ensure the data collected is managed under appropriate protocols?
Or is this just authoritarian saber rattling?
— Know The Ledge (@CodeSwitchATL) May 15, 2019
Sounds like an attempt to build a mailing list.
— Shana Lin (@ShanaLin4) May 15, 2019
And others took a more cynical view.
Lol I’ll try and spell it out for you. This is akin to throwing a dog a bone. Absolutely. I repeat. Absolutely nothing is going to come of this.
— Elda (@elroer) May 15, 2019
Leaked documents and independent studies alike have revealed a marked center-left bias in many social media platforms. Earlier this week, researchers from Northwestern University published an analysis of Google’s “top stories” showing that nearly two thirds came from liberal-leaning outlets, appearing to confirm internalcommunications that have leaked in the past few years showing Google execs plotting ways to shift the search algorithm to privilege “their” side.
Facebook banned a handful of prominent conservatives (and Louis Farrakhan) from its platform earlier this month, citing its policy on “dangerous individuals and organizations,” triggering outrage from Trump supporters but little more than a tepid condemnation from the president himself, even as Donald Trump Jr. tweeted that the censorship “should terrify everyone.” While President Trump was reportedly mulling an executive order targeting social media platforms for violations of antitrust law last year, it never materialized.
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