Melania Trump has a history of publicly contradicting President Donald Trump, and today is no different. During the one-year celebration of her “Be Best” initiative — which seeks to encourage children in the face of the major issues they face in the modern world — the first lady praised Twitter and Facebook during a speech at the White House Rose Garden.
Per Newsweek, Melania made the comments as the president and her son, Donald Trump Jr., battle the social media giants for their alleged “political discrimination” and “censorship campaign” following the social ban of political figures associated with the right such as Alex Jones, James Woods, Paul Joseph Watson, James Woods, and Laura Loomer.
“I’d also like to recognize some of the organizations that have traveled to be here today and have become true partners with my office.”
“They include the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Students Against Destructive Decisions, Twitter, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Facebook, Nicklaus Children’s Health Foundation, Amazon, Lily’s Place, SNAP, Google and Cincinnati Children’s National Hospital Medical Center, to name a few,” she continued.
Melanie used the occasion to remind the public that “Be Best” was created to help children better cope in the fast-paced modern world, and mentioned threats like risky online behavior, bullying, unhealthy habits, drug addiction, and suicide. Although she did not explain why Twitter, Facebook, and Google were included in her speech, one of her spokeswomen claims that “they have participated in roundtables and various meetings.”
Melania Trump praises Twitter, Facebook as "true partners" as Donald Trump Jr. slams their "political discrimination" https://t.co/yPbwL4L8Fs
— Newsweek (@Newsweek) May 7, 2019
Last Friday, President Trump tweeted his dissatisfaction with a string of bans implemented by social media companies like Twitter and Facebook.
“I am continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms. This is the United States of America – and we have what’s known as FREEDOM OF SPEECH!”
His remarks are just part of an ongoing debate about what isn’t protected speech on digital platforms, according to Vox. The free speech battle raises the question of whether social media sites are platforms — such as a cellphone network provider — or publishers, like The New York Times or Fox News.
While publishers have no obligation to host content they don’t agree with, platforms provide the public with a means of creating and choosing to engage with content and select who to host as a platform is criticized by many as an infringement on free speech. And under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, platforms are protected for being sued for the content on their sites, which has pushed many to claim that social media companies like Facebook and Twitter want the benefits of being a platform with the selective power of a publisher.
The argument against censorship is that companies like Facebook shouldn’t moderate content as if it were a publisher when it claims that it is not a media company. Per Vox, Facebook has stated that it is both a platform and a publisher, with the latter often stated in court.