WASHINGTON, D.C., August 27, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Donald Trump once again expressed his disapproval Friday of social media companies restricting center-right voices on ostensibly-neutral platforms.
“Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people,” Trump tweeted. “Can’t do this even if it means we must continue to hear Fake News like CNN, whose ratings have suffered gravely.”
The president stressed that it was ultimately the responsibility of individual readers, not tech companies, to “figure out what is real, and what is not.”
Social Media Giants are silencing millions of people. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 24, 2018
The tweet reiterated a series of comments he made a week earlier, warning that censorship was “very dangerous” and vowing that his administration “won’t let [discrimination against conservatives] happen.
“Let everybody participate, good & bad, and we will all just have to figure it out,” Trump urged.
Several in the mainstream media and liberal commentariat have denounced Trump’s comments, with Reuters’ Rob Lever claiming “there is little evidence” of anti-conservative censorship, ThinkProgress’ Luke Barnes accusing Trump of “whining” about a “non-existent issue,” and Vox’s Emily Stewart dismissing censorship accusations as “conspiracy” talk.
In fact, conservatives have cited a wealth of both anecdotal examples and traffic analysis for their claims.
Right-of-center figures and groups restricted on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and elsewhere since 2016 have included Prager University, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, the “Activist Mommy” Elizabeth Johnston, theologian Dr. Robert A.J. Gagnon, Islam scholar Robert Spencer, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, prominent Republican officials, ads from several GOP candidates, conservative video bloggers Diamond and Silk, numerous pro-life videos and advertisements, and more.
The most highly-publicized incidents are typically reversed after a few days of public outcry, with companies blaming them either on isolated human errors or unintentional side effects of their content prioritization algorithms. But critics continue to suspect intentional bias due to the continued frequency of such incidents, and the rarity of comparable left-wing examples.
Critics also cite insiders at Facebook and Twitter who have admitted to intentionally targeting conservative accounts and topics, as well as analyses finding that Facebook’s algorithm changes disproportionately harmed conservatives. While some studies found that explicitly-liberal publishers saw traffic declines as well (the central fact cited by deniers of intentional bias), they also found that mainstream media outlets that present themselves as impartial (despite their liberal bias) saw the most benefit.
Additionally, a confidential memo written last year by the far-left Media Matters details a comprehensive campaign to pressure social media and tech companies into silencing conservatives. Critics also cite social media companies’ partnerships with left-wing groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), PolitiFact, and Snopes for ostensibly-impartial services pertaining to “fact-checking” and policing “hate.”
On Twitter, writer James Hasson noted that CNN’s Oliver Darcy blamed Trump for stoking a “longstanding paranoia” on the issue, yet in 2016 had covered Facebook insiders’ admission that they discriminated against conservatives:
A Tale of Two Darcys
— James Hasson (@JamesHasson20) August 27, 2018