Just the Facts

Five Facts on the White House Social Media Summit

By No Labels
July 15, 2019 | Blog

Social media companies face demands to remove extremist content that incites violence and bigotry. Right-wing users affected by social media efforts to address hate speech concerns claim that they have been unfairly targeted. The White House claims that social media platforms demonstrate a bias against conservative users. In response, President Donald Trump hosted a White House Social Media Summit. Here are the facts.

The White House launched an online tool early in 2019 to collect responses from Americans on how they have been affected by bias online. 

The White House received thousands of responses from the form, which prompted the President to take action. White House spokesman Judd Deere claims that President Trump decided to host an event to “engage directly with digital leaders[1].” President Trump turned to Twitter to announce that he would hold an important social media event. 

President Trump hosted a White House Social Media Summit to discuss the “opportunities and challenges” of the internet in the social media age[2].

The summit comes after repeated claims from President Trump that Facebook, Google, and Twitter censor right-wing users that post conservative content. He has claimed that these companies demonstrate a bias against conservatives by censoring and removing right-wing users and posts. Facebook and Twitter claim that they ban people and remove content when hate speech policies outlines in their terms of service are violated. 

Of the approximately 200 attendees, zero worked for social media giants[3].  

The guest list included several far-right internet figures that have historically been caught in high-profile controversy for posting conspiracy theories, plagiarized content, and misinformation. Lawmakers and leaders from conservative think tanks also attended. The White House claims that attendees were chosen based on responses from the online tool collecting information on instances of bias. The far-right voices in attendance often worked with Dan Scavino, White House Social Media Director[4].

The substance of the event consisted of little discussion of policy changes to address the supposed social media bias. 

During the event, President Trump rehashed his critiques of several social media platforms, including Twitter. He claimed that he doesn’t attract followers at the same rate he used to, now loses followers, and that supporters cannot follow him. Twitter claims these fluctuations are due to their efforts to purge the platform of fake bot accounts. Other users see similar follower fluctuations due to these efforts[5]. President Trump did not use the event to introduce any plan of action on how to address social media concerns. 

Republican lawmakers support government regulation of social media companies to ensure they do not act on a bias. 

Republicans call for stronger regulations on censorship as social media platforms face pressure to take action against content from white supremacists and extremists that incite violence. In response, right-wing lawmakers call for government intervention to ensure that social media companies do not censor the speech of American citizens[6].






[6]  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-hosts-social-media-summit-with-conservatives-and-without-tech-giants/

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