Donald Trump continues to bash social media platforms for political bias, and Talking Points Memo reports that his White House just took another step in this battle by asking users of platforms like Facebook and Twitter to submit their own experiences of oppression.
“The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online,” reads a White House tweet.
“No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it!”
But the tool also asks for users to submit their zip codes and email address, which the White House claims is for updates that bypass social media platforms. Yet even when opting out of email newsletters, users are still required to give up this information.
The Verge reports that this tool being touted as a weapon in the battle for free speech is actually a Typeform page — something that anyone can set up in a few minutes.
Of course, the tool’s landing page presents it as otherwise and contains caps lock for emphasis —much in the vein of Trump’s tweets.
“SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS should advance FREEDOM OF SPEECH.”
“Yet too many Americans have seen their accounts suspended, banned, or fraudulently reported for unclear ‘violations’ of user policies,” it continued, urging visitors to share their stories with Trump.
The Trump Administration is fighting for free speech online.— The White House (@WhiteHouse) May 15, 2019
No matter your views, if you suspect political bias has caused you to be censored or silenced online, we want to hear about it! https://t.co/9lc0cqUhuf pic.twitter.com/J8ICbx42dz
But The New York Times technology columnist Kevin Roose said on Twitter that the information from the survey will likely just be funneled back into social media — which the White House claims to be fighting.
“The thing about the Trump Facebook bias survey is it’s just going to be used to assemble a voter file, which Trump will then pay Facebook millions of dollars to target with ads about how biased Facebook is.”
As The Inquisitr reported, Trump has been at the forefront of a battle against what Republicans believe is a war on conservative speech on social media platforms. After a string of bans against conservative voices like Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson by social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, many are suggesting that the companies are acting as publishers — not platforms.
If social media companies are platforms, they shouldn’t moderate content, but if they are publishers, they can — although they will not get the same legal protection from lawsuits related to content that they choose to publish.
Regardless of what the future of the debate holds, it doesn’t seem like Trump’s new “tool” will be of much help, and it appears more likely that it will be used to benefit his reelection campaign instead.