Social media giants are getting some unwelcome attention from the highest levels of government. In response to recent revelations that their censorship of conservative content has been even more blatant and severe than previously imagined, President Trump is now endorsing the idea of taking government action to rein in their power.
“Actually it’s incredible that I won the election because you know it was so rigged against me,” President Trump told Breitbart News in an interview. “It wasn’t Russians. Russia collusion was a delusion. But . . . there was collusion between the Democrats and these tech companies.”
In speaking for himself, President Trump was also speaking for millions of conservative Americans who regularly are silenced by social media platforms for their political beliefs.
Being a conservative on social media means engaging in political debate with one hand tied behind your back—one set of rules applies to liberals, another set applies to conservatives.
Time and again, conservatives are banned for doing exactly what their left-leaning counterparts do. Twitter banned a conservative user for using fake accounts, for instance, but failed to do so when a liberal activist admitted to doing the same thing. Similarly, the company bans accounts associated with the “Proud Boys” because they say the group has promoted violence, but it does not ban users affiliated with Antifa, which has engaged in a much more extensive campaign of violence and intimidation against its political opponents.
Even more grotesque than their widespread censorship of everyday Americans is the way companies such as Google, Twitter, and Facebook abuse their power to stifle the speech of candidates running for elected office. During the 2018 midterm election campaign, Facebook, Google, and Twitter all blocked ads supporting Republican candidates.
President Trump pointed this out during his interview with Breitbart, saying that any Republican running for office in 2020 would face a “tremendous disadvantage” on social media after he surprised tech companies by defeating Hillary Clinton in 2016. “It’s totally steered, which has been proven now, totally steered toward the Democrats and yet I won,” he said.
Evidence of the pervasive anti-GOP bias within Big Tech companies is rapidly piling up, suggesting that the president’s concerns about their intent to interfere in the 2020 elections are well-founded.
Google, for instance, manipulates autocomplete prompts and personalized search results. Facebook and Twitter, meanwhile, constantly are innovating new ways to stifle conservative media figures, including “deboosting” posts, shadowbanning and blacklisting conservatives to stop the spread of popular ideas, and using complex algorithms to prevent conservative media from showing up in search engine results while propping up the mainstream media.
It’s no surprise that employees at Google’s parent company, Alphabet, gave 90 percent of their political donations to Democrats over the past 14 years.
President Trump is confident that he can overcome social media bias “by just being good,” but noted that “It’s much harder for a conservative Republican to win than it is for a liberal Democrat,” and suggested that action may have to be taken to rein in the power of Big Tech if it continues to use that power for partisan ends.
“I understand a lot of people wanting to look into it. I mean normally I’d like to say let it be free, let it all be free, but it’s not free. It’s really run by a small number of people,” the president pointed out.
“A lot of people are talking about breaking them up,” he added later in the interview. “They’re dishonest, there’s tremendous dishonesty. And it’s really all steered toward the Republicans and the conservative movement.”
President Trump may very well be foreshadowing future action against biased tech and social media companies. As the 2020 campaign approaches, these companies clearly deserve to receive attention they no doubt would consider unwelcome.
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