Science & Tech

Trump Accuses Social-Media Giants of ‘Silencing Millions of People’

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., April 11, 2018. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

President Trump took a swipe at powerful social-media companies early Friday, charging them with “silencing millions of people.”

In the wake of criticism of Trump for calling the press “fake news” the “enemy of the people,” the president added that even the networks he doesn’t like and regularly rails against must have their speech protected.

“Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely. People have to figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

His comments come as conservatives gripe about being censored on mammoth platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones made headlines this month when he was banned from Facebook, Apple, YouTube, and Spotify. He is still permitted on Twitter, but he was recently suspended for a week after a tweet of his was deemed to violate the platform’s rules.

Conservatives have accused Twitter of implementing “shadow ban,” meaning that unbeknownst to them, their content becomes visible only to themselves.

Twitter’s effort to cleanse the platform of Russian trolls and those not “contributing to the healthy conversation” ended up affecting Republican congressmen Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, and Matt Gaetz, as well as Republican party chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that his company has a left-leaning bias, but denied that the personal opinions of employees affect their decisions about whom to ban.

This is not the first time the president has addressed Internet censorship. Last Saturday, Trump issued a similar condemnation of social-media companies stifling conservatives and others.

“Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices,” he said. “Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won’t let that happen.”

“Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out!” he wrote last week.

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